Devotion in Motion: Why do bad things happen to good people?

Note from the mamas: Brother John is on his annual summer break from writing but will return in August with new devotions. In the meantime, we’re sharing one of his most viewed posts, which is particularly important right now as our country deals with the aftermath of yet another heartbreaking and infuriating school shooting. We hope you’ll join us in praying for our fellow parents in Texas who have been impacted by this tragedy.

18 Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, chief of the captains, and he said: “We are yours, O David; We are on your side, O son of Jesse! Peace, peace to you, And peace to your helpers! For your God helps you.” 1 Chronicles 12:18 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

As a country preacher, people often ask me questions they want me to answer. As you might imagine, there are a number of questions brought to my attention time and time again — since as humans, we pretty much share a universal set of problems. A question we all struggle with is this: “Why do bad things happen to good people in God’s world, and how are we to react to and understand these things?”

I don’t pretend to have all the answers to these questions, but I do have some thoughts. My sons were little boys in grade school on 9/11. Even though Seth was in kindergarten and Spencer was in 4th grade, they both still remember that day. I was frightened at that day’s events as an adult, so I can only imagine how my boys felt.

What should you tell your children when they see videos of a terrible situation on the news? The best answer I have ever found is in a quote by the late Fred Rogers, of Mister Rogers Neighborhood:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.” – Fred Rogers

That quote brings me comfort and strength because it’s the absolute truth. Whenever you see tragedy, or suffering, or pain, there are always helpers there. Teach your babies to look for the helpers.

And we should extend that lesson a little further. Not only should we look for the helpers, we should strive to BE one of the helpers. It is for this reason that God has made us, and He sent Jesus to set the example of service for us. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45). My prayer for you today comes from the Scripture lesson (at the top): “Peace, peace to you, And peace to your helpers! For your God helps you.” Have a blessed week.

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 32 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He’s a retired Mississippi public schoolteacher with grown sons, and is now a stay-at-home-grandpa with his grandson, Landon Cash. He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in a brick house in town (where the house cat is busy watching out the window, too.) You can send him a note at

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