( first posted on my blog Different Strokes on 6th May, 2009)

Why bad things happen to good people at all ??

Quite a number of times in my life, I have run into this question… why at all bad things happen to good people ? When something unexpectedly adverse happens to me at a personal level also, I look up in total bewilderment and ask “ God, Why me ??”

But the anguish was perhaps at its peak, when my brother passed away a few months back at an age of just 55 and thinking of what has happened to my sister-in-law ( an adorable sister, not just in law !), and my niece ( can not be a better ‘daughter’ than her for any parents in the whole world !), I agitatedly asked God ‘why‘ ????

To my question, I got an insight like never before …. 1stly, the question ” Why bad things happen to good people?” is a wrong question ab initio. Nowhere it is said/written/suggested that bad things will never happen to u if u r good – EACH human has to have a piece of both, good as well as bad, to grow and experience life as a complete whole. There is not a single adult on this planet who has not fallen at least once before learning how to stand and walk erect. It is all in the process of natural growth and so are the ‘bad’ things; only difference being– if you are ‘good’, God invariably blesses you with everything needed to come out of it better and not get battered. So, the real test of if you are truly good or not is testified by the fact asto whether a bad experience leaves you better or bitter & battered.

So, the correct question of significance is : What do good people do when bad things happen to them ? And the answer to this, as I pose this question in relation to my sis-in-law and a whole lot of other good people, who have apparently been meted out injustice or unfair treatment in life, that I know about, is very very convincing : They do everything to emerge out of this as a stronger and still better ( not bitter) person, develop still greater sensitivity to others’ hurt n suffering, show still greater willingness n ability to help others ! They seem to tread their path with unwavering trust in the divine dispensation, taking each adversity as an opportunity to grow further; eventually, they do not allow themselves to be crushed – they bounce back with greater courage, love and agility.

And on the day of their reckoning, the good people walk away from this stage full of honour, legitimate pride and fulfilment !!!

I was so touched! My sis-in-law was amongst the first ones to wish me on my wedding anniversary and sent us a wonderful e-card to share our happiness, notwithstanding the fact that, she herself was in an emotional turmoil – by then, not much time had elapsed after Bro left us ! Needless to mention, this is not just one instance of what she did that led me to include her in the category of ‘good’ people. I know her for about three decades and by any standard, she is a wonderful and gold-hearted person. Hence, I took her as example. She is now settling down with engaging assignments, her daughter is already in a pretty good job – and she has all of the extended family by her side – basically, she might not have got all that she wanted, but God has blessed her with everything that she needs and I am sure, in time, she will look back to see the divine design in everything along the way.

There are many such examples in history, in and around us. Just look around and you will never ever let any inappropriate questions like the first one above bother you or affect you any longer.

And I highly recommend reading of works by Robert H. Schuller, the celebrated author of “ Tough Times Never Last; but Tough People Do”. I find his elucidations very lucid and candid when it comes to building perspectives on life issues, which any one can identify with. It helps re-assure you if you already believe in the power of positive thinking; it clarifies and brings back the perspectives, if you are a bit confused, as of now.

Here, I am reminded of an insightful story regarding how we may not always have a clear and correct view of all the things happening. Let me share.


When I was small, my mother used to sew a great deal . I would sit at her knee and look up from the floor and ask what she was doing. She told me that she was embroidering .

As from the underside I watched her work within the boundaries of the little hoop that she held in her hand, I complained to her that it sure looked messy from where I sat. She’d smile at me, look down and gently say, “ Son, you go about your playing and when I am finished with my embroidering, I will put you on my knee and let you see it from my side .”

I would wonder why she was using some dark threads along with the bright ones and why they seemed so jumbled from my view.

After sometime I would hear my mother’s voice say,” Son, come sit on my knee.” This I did only to be surprised and thrilled to see a beautiful flower or sunset. I could not believe it , because from underneath it looked so messy.

Then mother would say, “ my son , from underneath it did look messy and jumbled, but you did not realize that there was a plan on the top. It was a design. I was only following it .. Now look at it from my side and you will see what I was doing . “

Many times through the years, I have looked upto heaven and said, “ father, what are you doing ? “. He has answered, “ I am embroidering your life . “ I say, “ But it looks like such a mess to me. It seems so jumbled. The threads seem so dark. Why can’t they all be bright ?” The Father seems to tell me, “ My child, you go about doing your business of doing my business, and one day I will bring you to Heaven and put you on my knee and you will see the plan from my side . “

– Author Unknown
Worth reflecting, do n’t you think so ?????

Posted by Snigdha at 11:27 AM


sambit said…
May be because even God wants to see how they deal with them so that these could be examples for others.

May 9, 2009 11:10 AM

Rajeswari said…

Wow!!Thanks for sharing that sweet story..Let us all emerge strong and not resentful of the hardships that gave us strength.

May 9, 2009 8:35 PM
snigdha said…
Yes, that’s what we also call divine dispensation – let’s trust in it and go about doing our works as they ought to be done – with our heart and soul and mind – leave the rest to the Omni-scient God!
And thanks for joining , Sambit and Rajeswari. I always look forward to your observations on the themes I reflect on.

May 10, 2009 8:53 AM