Is there an answer to the question of why bad things happen to good people?...The response would be…to forgive the world for not being perfect, to forgive God for not making a better world, to reach out to the people around us, and to go on living despite it all…no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it has happened.
A personal relationship with God enhances life. First, it enables us to accept our limitations without being frustrated by them. It assures us that problems we can't solve are not necessarily insoluble. Second, when we need it, God offers us a sense of forgiveness, a sense of cleansing from our incompleteness. . . . Last and perhaps most important, a personal relationship with God redeems us from the fear of death. We needn't be afraid that all our good deeds will vanish when we die.
It is tempting at one level to believe that bad things happen to people (especially other people) because God is a righteous judge who gives them exactly what they deserve. By believing that we keep the world orderly and understandable.... But [this belief] has a number of serious limitations.... It teaches people to blame themselves. It creates guilt when there is no basis for guilt. And most disturbing of all, it does not even fit the facts.
At some of the darkest moments in my life, some people I thought of as friends deserted me-some because they cared about me and it hurt them to see me in pain; others because I reminded them of their own vulnerability, and that was more than they could handle. But real friends overcame their discomfort and came to sit with me. If they had not words to make me feel better, they sat in silence (much better than saying, "You'll get over it," or "It's not so bad; others have it worse") and I loved them for it.