When Bad Things Happen to Good People

When bad things happen to us or others we know, human nature almost always makes us look for what we or those others did that was so bad it initiated the bad that popped up in our life or theirs. That principle is called “reap and sow,” “what goes around comes around,” or “karma.”  However it is labeled, the principle originated from a Scripture in the 8th chapter of Genesis. In that passage, God promised Noah that as long as Earth exists, there will always be light and dark, hot and cold, Summer and Winter, and “seed-time and harvest,” or “reap and sow.” To sum it up: everything we do has consequences. Sometimes we fool ourselves and make stupid decisions, knowing there will be consequences. But we fool ourselves saying, “OK, I’ll do that, knowing there’s a price, but I’ll deal with it.” Maybe it’s cheating a little on taxes, thinking “I’ll have a slow quarter, but it’s worth the cost,” or, “I’ll gorge this weekend all weekend and will gain a pound or 2. But I’ll starve myself next weekend to makeup for it.”

Whatever or however we justify those things, there is always a price to pay. We as shown above, do not understand the “seed-time and harvest” principle. We convince ourselves that sometimes when we plant peach seeds apple trees will grow. It doesn’t work that way: what we plant in the ground is what will grow — every time. Lies return as lies; cheating returns as cheating; eating too much returns as weight gain. But, there’s a caveat in this principle: sometimes bad things happen to good people, even when they do not deserve the bad things.

Thirteen years ago our youngest daughter thrilled us with her announcement that Emmerson — our first grand daughter — was on the way. She and Scott had been married for about 4 years and had waited to get settled before starting having kids. It was a great time. But 5 months into the pregnancy, something went drastically wrong: the baby quit moving. The diagnosis was the baby had Turner’s Syndrome — a chromosomal disorder — and had died. Kori had to carry our grand-daughter for another two months knowing that Emmerson was not alive. That process was unbelievably traumatic for us all, but horrific for her and Scott. The most horrible thing I can ever remember was driving up to the cemetery and seeing that little white coffin holding my first grand-daughter.

Why did such horror takeover Kori and Scott’s lives? They were and are some of the finest people I know. What had they done to deserve this? I knew of nothing but good from them.

Two weeks later we took them to Phoenix to get away for a week. We all lounged around the Biltmore pool, ate good food, Scott and I played golf, just being casual. The girls just had to shop, so we went to the Fashion Mall in Scottsdale and ran smack dab into Denny and DeAnza Duron from Shreveport. They were there for a baseball tournament their oldest son was playing in. Denny is my foster brother and our pastor. He had just completed a sermon series titled “The Providence of God.” At that time, Scott and Kori attended a different church, but knew Denny and DeAnza well. Denny took Scott to the side and told him, “If you and Kori will resist the temptation to shake your fist in God’s face in anger, He’ll pay you back.” That was the principle of his sermon series.  He told Scott, “Sometimes there is no understanding of why God allows bad things to happen to good people. Sometimes there are no answers for those bad things. But if we do not get angry at God He’ll pay us for trusting Him.”

So that’s what they did. One year later, (the day Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans) Kori gave birth to our grand daughter Grace, AND our grand daughter Emmaline — twins! Kori and Scott had done nothing wrong, something horrible happened to them, and they refused to get angry for losing their baby. They trusted God, and they received from their seed of trust two wonderful baby girls that are now almost 12.

In that time of wonder and amazement, everything changed — except the trials were not over. A few years later Kori was diagnosed with malignant breast cancer. The fear and horror returned to their lives. She opted for a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and reconstruction. Going through it all was their second nightmarish horror. But both held strong, trusting there was good to come from it.

Kori fought hard through the effects of that difficult process and dealt with it seldom letting anyone know of her struggles.  She has now passed the first big hurdle — 5 years cancer free. She is doing well: owns her own company, (she’s an architectural interior designer: http://www.korishurley.com) great wife, mother, sister, and daughter, and lights up every room she enters.

I never see Kori frown. She never complains and always smiles, regardless of her circumstances. Why do you think that is? She and Scott found out that they are as human as the rest of us, which means they will make mistakes and do some things wrong. Sometimes those mistakes cause unnecessary difficulties they bring on themselves. But sometimes those difficulties are simply because “Bad Things Happen to Good People,” and nothing more. They know that when you plant a rose bush, roses are going to grow. They continually patiently wait, looking for the roses without worry about what bad might happen. They both know “The Best is Yet to Come.”

(I am pretty sure there’s a book in there somewhere. For those of you who know Kori, give her a nudge to write the book. Few people I know have the ability to on a first-person basis tell others exactly how to deal with the hard stuff — every time it shows up.  Shhh…..please don’t tell her Dad said to!)

3 thoughts on “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”

  1. Scott Friestad

    Very inspiring. A word spoken in due season. I remember this time in your life and the Duron’s even being in that town at the same time as you was the God of universe showing off. Kori has been an inspiration to my wife and 100’s around her without her knowing it. Great post Dan! The Newman family is amazing to watch as God promises are yes and amen yet once in a while life….or bad things show up but it seems like most Newman’s just keep on going trusting that God has a plan even for the pain.

  2. What a time that God showed up for You. I remember meeting Kori in the hospital and hearing from you later what Jesus had done. Having Denny & DeAnza and those standing with you guys is what community is all about. You have so many amazing testimonies of God’s providence and faithfulness demonstrated in your life story Dan! Thank you for sharing- Kori is amazing?

  3. Dan, I cried and celebrated reading the life struggles of family!!! Only a parent lives and breathes the joy and pain of our children!!! Then we get to encounter it again with our precious GRANDS!! Your blog pushed me to face the deepest sorrow of loss and Gods incredible comfort that aided me!! Kori is an inspiration to me…thanks for not permitting death to separate you from Gods love for you!!

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