I bet most of us, have had “bad” things happen to us. If not, just wait, you will.


This question either opens the door to sharing stories about Jesus, or slams it shut based on your worldview, and that of the person asking the question.


This topic can have a lot of theology rolled into it, but I’m not diving into that. This is my opinion based on my faith, understanding, and experience.


I am going to start with the statement that I believe God doesn’t make bad things happen and He doesn’t turn his back as bad things happen. People get sick and die at any age, terrorists fly planes into buildings, and natural disasters destroy lives and communities not because God is orchestrating it, making it happen, or even “allowing” it. Bad things happen because we live in a broken and sinful world. Those things all happen because that’s the path that this world is on.


My dad died in 1998 to Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was only 51. Saying he was a “great guy” is an understatement. He made a huge impact on a lot of lives. He died a week before my 21st birthday and I had to “grow up” without him.


While loosing him was hard, it is freeing to understand that my dad died as a part of this broken world’s life cycle. It wasn’t a punishment, he didn’t deserve it. It is the world that we live in.


So that’s a summary of why bad things happen, but what about the good people aspect?


Just a few years ago, I came to the conclusion that moved me from understanding that good things can come from bad. While talking to a man who lost his daughter to cancer, I thought what if in death, that event, can serve God’s kingdom in a greater way than the rest of that person’s life? My dad died a young man, all things considered. He still had plenty of years to continue positively impacting the lives of others. So the idea that more could come from his death then the rest of his life is pretty incredible.


So, how?


It is up to me to tell his story, share my story with others, and make that happen. I can share this with others I wouldn’t normally have had the opportunity to interact with. Even through this blog. If my dad hadn’t died nearly 16 years ago, I wouldn’t be writing this blog from the perspective that I have. I wouldn’t have had the dozens of conversations that I have had over the years.


And I am just one person who chooses to use his story. How many others have done the same thing? It is up to those who have been through it, have survived the bad things, to choose to use their stories to bring about good.


It’s like that line from Saving Private Ryan, “Earn this.”


My hope is that by sharing the “bad” stories of my life along with the stories of how Jesus has worked through those, others will see the difference they have made in my life simply from the perspective that I have.  I want to “Earn this.”


Keith Sampson

Executive Coordinator

God of Hope