Why do bad things happen to good people? Why is this world so unfair? Please don't tell me "We can't understand G‑d's ways." I am sick of hearing that. I want an explanation.
Are you sure you want an explanation? Do you really want to know why the innocent suffer? I think not. You are far better off with the question than with an answer.
You are bothered by the fact that people suffer undeservedly. As you should be.
Any person with an ounce of moral sensitivity is outraged by the injustices of
our world. Abraham, the first Jew, asked G-d, "Should the Judge of the whole
world not act fairly?" Moses asked, "Why have You treated this people badly?"
And today we still ask, "Why G‑d, why?"
But what if we found the answer? What if someone came along and gave us a
satisfying explanation? What if the mystery were finally solved? What if we
asked why, and actually got an answer?
If this ultimate question were answered, then we would be able to make peace
with the suffering of innocents. And that is unthinkable. Worse than innocent
people suffering is others watching their suffering unmoved. And that's exactly
what would happen if we were to understand why innocents suffer. We would no
longer be bothered by their cry, we would no longer feel their pain, because we
would understand why it is happening.
Imagine you are in a hospital and you hear a woman screaming with pain. Outside
her room, her family is standing around chatting, all smiling and happy. You
scream at them, "What's wrong with you? Can't you hear how much pain she is in?"
They answer, "This is the delivery ward. She is having a baby. Of course we are
When you have an explanation, pain doesn't seem so bad anymore. We can tolerate
suffering when we know why it is happening.
And so, if we could make sense of innocent people suffering, if we could
rationalise tragedy, then we could live with it. We would be able to hear the
cry of sweet children in pain and not be horrified. We would tolerate seeing
broken hearts and shattered lives, for we would be able to neatly explain them
away. Our question would be answered, and we could move on.
But as long as the pain of innocents remains a burning question, we are bothered
by its existence. And as long as we can't explain pain, we must alleviate it. If
innocent people suffering does not fit into our worldview, we must eradicate it.
Rather than justifying their pain, we need to get rid of it.
So keep asking the question, why do bad things happen to good people. But stop
looking for answers. Start formulating a response. Take your righteous anger and
turn it into a force for doing good. Redirect your frustration with injustice
and unfairness and channel it into a drive to fight injustice and unfairness.
Let your outrage propel you into action. When you see innocent people suffering,
help them. Combat the pain in the world with goodness. Alleviate suffering
wherever you can.
We don't want answers, we don't want explanations, and we don't want closure. We
want an end to suffering. And we dare not leave it up to G-d to alleviate
suffering. He is waiting for us to do it. That's what we are here for.