Last night, the bad-things-versus-good-people question came up in conversation.
I'll put that in the context of this week's events in my life and the lives of those around me: one of my best friends in the emergency room twice (he's okay), my car accident, and the news that another close friend may have cancer, among other things.
The thing that struck me, as I talked over the latest news with Mom, is how naturally we expect faith and good behavior to be rewarded in the physical realm. I don't understand how cancer happens to someone who has suffered as much with as much faith and purity of heart as our friend.
I know people who would say that when God is displeased with someone, he punishes them with "something bad happening."
I think something bad does happen when we place ourselves outside of God's design: We wind up trying to live out of our own rigid or skewed expectations of God and life.
Ultimately, that lifestyle punishes us far more thoroughly than the vague "something bad", even if it does coincidentally materialize. Especially since at some point we will all suffer.
…Which means that the spiritual joys must overshadow the physical, too… I think we grow into that throughout life :)