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Ministry Matters








When I woke up this morning (March 26, 2024) The news all over media was the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland. A container ship – 300 meters long – had struck one of the bridge supports, causing a large portion of it to collapse. The article said it was believed thirty people were victims; water searches were being conducted to find survivors.

   The collapse of the “Key” Bridge is a disaster for the Baltimore area and for the thousands of commuters, locals and travelers north and south.

   Questions abound. Why did this have to happen? Whose fault is it? How many survived? What was happening onboard the ship prior to the accident? Was it an accident? Why do bad things happen to good people?

Hold on. We need to rephrase that. Why do bad things happen to people? Period.

   First, obviously, bad decisions or events were  taking place on the ship. That’s a given. Were there only “good” people on the ship or was there a mixture? Did “good” people suffer as a result of poor/bad decisions made by “bad” people – or did “good” people make bad/poor decisions that affected “bad” people?

Second, as a result, bad things happened to the people on the bridge. Did only “good” people suffer and die or did “bad” people suffer and die, too? Was it their fault they were victims of the catastrophe? Did God put them there in order to punish them for doing something bad or evil?

   Folks don’t like to hear the reason for catastrophes. Sin. Personal sin and the world’s sinful state. Biblical history - following humanity’s fall into sin (Gen. 3) - has been rife with bad things happening to “good” and “bad” people alike. Sin introduced jealousy and murder to the world (Gen. 4). Sin-filled people and their wickedness resulted in the flood in Noah’s day (Gen.6); sin-bred pride brought about the Tower of Babel and its aftermath (Gen. 11). Wickedness (sin) resulted in the destruction of  Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen.8). God punished sin several times as the Israelites wandered in the Sinai Desert for forty years. On one occasion, a man (Achan) and his family were destroyed because of his sin in keeping and hiding a cloak, two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold in his tent. (Joshua 7).

Sin is Satan’s tool. He attempts to infuse it into everyone’s life. When he’s successful, he manipulates people to do his bidding and his bidding never is for good. You’ll recall the story of Job. Although he was a sinner, He was righteous before God. Satan told God he could get Job to curse God. God gave    Satan permission twice to “jerk Job around” but   Satan was not able to get Job to curse God.             Bad things happened to a good person (Job) and Bad things happened to bad people (Job’s children and their friends – plus anyone else good or bad) who happened to be in the house with them when it fell flat. There are more examples in Scripture but these will suffice. Bad things happen in the world because sin can make people bad.

   One either can accept the reality of sin and its influence or not. But it’s the truth. Sin is what brings disaster upon “good’ and “bad” alike. There are good people who are sinners – but they do not allow sin to control them; they trust Jesus to help them overcome sin in their lives.


   Here’s the good news. God also brings blessings   upon the “good” and the “bad” together. God brings sunshine and rain (Matthew 5:45); we are to pray for, bring and practice love toward all people (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27-38). God provides food, clothing and shelter; wisdom and knowledge for the “good” and the “bad.”

   God allows catastrophic events to get His will done. They can be a wake-up call to countries at war; countries and people who have turned their backs to God. God raises up leaders (whether “good” or “bad”) to bring about change for the good. Everyone benefits. You get my point, yes?

   How often do we ask, “Why do good things happen to “bad” people? Good things happen to both “good” and “bad” people. Either way the answer is the same: “Why not?” An old Gospel song, Farther Along, got it right: “Farther along we’ll know all about it. Farther along we’ll understand why.”

   Of course, the greatest and best that ever was given for the “bad” and the “good” is Jesus. Jesus shows no partiality; He died on the cross for the “good” and “bad.” He loves us all. He came to save us all. God’s ultimate will is that every one of the human race would come to Him through His Son, Jesus the Christ, and be saved; to save us from our sins; to turn the hearts of sinners toward Him so that all would have life in Him.

   God’s amazing grace falls upon everyone. It is available to all. When Jesus calls, He doesn’t call only the “good.” He calls everyone with the same measure of grace. The “good” will revel in it while the “bad” will wrestle with it.

    Good and bad continues to come to “good” and “bad.” How can your faith in Jesus inform your attitude and belief in a generous, faithful, loving God who lavishes His grace on all?

   May Easter grace (John 3:16-17 and Luke 24:1-9) empower your life of serving the “good” and the “bad.”

Pastor Fred Westerhold

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