Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Why bad things happen to good people...and other musings

We've all heard the question, "If God is so loving, why do bad things happen to good people?" Fair question. Here's why I think it happens. God wants us to become like Him so that we can inherit His glory. In order to become like him, we need refinement, and refinement often hurts.

I am currently taking a Biology class and learned something that I found very cool that helped me understand this concept. A vaccine kills a certain type of bacteria, usually one that causes a disease that no one wants. We used to believe it killed all of that bacteria. We are now understanding that it kills MOST of the bacteria, but not quite all of it. Some mutant strands survive, and by the process of natural selection, replicate themselves and become a new strain of the disease-causing bacteria, and one that is resistant to the vaccine, since they survived initially. One disease this is definitely the case with is Tuberculosis. Not only does our existing vaccine not kill all of this mutant strain, the mutant strain FEEDS off of our vaccine! So rather than eradicating this disease, we have been feeding it. Whoops. So, in order to control this disease, we were forced to find a different vaccine that could deal with the mutant strain. By extrapolating this out, we have a long, long ways to go before we can confidently say that we have eradicated tuberculosis.

How does this apply? Our goal is to become like our Father in Heaven. Let's say the things keeping us from being like him are strain A of tuberculosis. It is one of our vices. You can fill in your own vice. We work really, really hard to root it out. We are making really great progress and we think we've got it. Unfortunately, we didn't get all of it. There is this mutant strain that is really small now, but after years of self-replicating will become just as dangerous as the one we just worked so hard to root out. We can't see it yet, but Heavenly Father can. We are busy patting ourselves on the back for conquering strain A. Heavenly Father is busy helping us to take the next steps and keep conquering. Often times, this next step comes in the form of "something bad". We all have different lessons to learn and different traits to develop, but luckily, our Father in Heaven knows all this AND He knows the best way for each of us to learn them.

In the moment, we may disagree with His assessment regarding our need to overcome the mutant strain. I assure you, though, He knows best. We may not find out until years down the road just how the "bacteria" works and why it was necessary to overcome it, but it's necessary. In short, our goals are not always His goals, and our motives not always His motives, but if we trust in Him, eventually they will be. That's what He has promised us. If we keep the commandments and strive diligently to progress ourselves, we'll become like Him. Even if we question sometimes how much we want to be like Him if it means taking on the mutant strain, we really do.

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