Matthew 5:45b – He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (NIV)
Recently, I was watching a television program in which Madonna, the pop singer, was being interviewed by a British journalist. He was asking her about Kaballah, an ancient Jewish mysticism that she, and a number of pop celebrities, have begun to dabble in. He asked why she was doing this, and Madonna said that she rejected institutionalized religion because it couldn't give her a satisfactory answer about why good things happen to bad people and why bad things happen to good people. She found what she wanted in Kaballah, which is a belief system that glorifies the believer and reduces the woes of the world to be mere distractions.
Madonna's comment is one that we all struggle with, and I don't suppose there will be any completely satisfactory answer this side of eternity. It has to do with common grace being applied by God to all of those who least deserve it. That's why He allows the sun to shine on both the good and the bad; that's why He showers His refreshing rain on both the righteous and unrighteous. If God were to bless only those who were good, no one would be blessed. If God were to punish all of those who were bad, all of us would be constantly punished.
It might not seem fair to us that those who are brazen, selfish, and self-centred, like some pop singers, get the best out of life, whereas those with little power or prestige get a raw deal. On this side of eternity, the scales of success seem to be heavily weighted towards those who look out for themselves. But in the life to come, God's justice prevails, and the reverse is true. In other words, those who seek their rewards in this life will not be disappointed; but they needn't look beyond death for anything more from God. As Christ Himself once said, "They have received all the reward they will ever get." (Matthew 6:2 NLT)
Instead of being envious of the rich, powerful, and successful, we should glory in the grace that God gives to all of humankind. Instead of feeling under-privileged, hard-done-by, and unrewarded, we should take time to thank God for the blessings that He shares with both the good and bad, the righteous and unrighteous.
Prayer: – Father God, we cannot understand why so many selfish people are successful, or even why bad things happen to good people. Sometimes it frustrates our faith and we feel let down or disappointed by You. Forgive us for being churlish, and teach us instead to cherish Your amazing grace, which bestows common blessings upon the good and the bad. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.