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When Good Things Happen to Bad People

We need a new perspective—one that looks up.


One of the strangest lawsuits in US court history was filed on September 14, 2007. Nebraska Senator Ernie Chambers—one of the first African-American senators in Nebraska history—was seeking to stop evil and injustice in the world, and he actually filed a lawsuit against God. The lawsuit sought a permanent injunction against God's interference in this world.

Senator Chambers said of God, "[He] has allowed certain harmful activities to exist that [have] caused grave harm to innumerable people in the world." The lawsuit charged God with causing fearsome floods, egregious earthquakes, horrendous hurricanes, tornadoes, plagues, famines, devastating droughts, genocidal wars, birth defects, and the like. Chambers continued in the lawsuit, saying that God has allowed "calamitous catastrophes resulting in the wide-spread death, destruction, and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth's inhabitants including innocent babes, infants, children, the aged, and infirm[,] without mercy or distinction."

Eventually the lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice. The Nebraska court ruled they could not properly notify God because they did not have his address. Senator Chambers disagreed with the ruling, claiming that because God is omniscient and knows everything, he should have known he was being sued and appeared in court to defend himself.

While we may ridicule Senator Chambers for his ill-reasoned accusations, we might want to honor his honesty. Chambers is not alone in seeking to put God on trial; for centuries, people have put God on trial. Whenever humanity is faced with the incongruities of life—that bad things happen to good people, or worse, that good things happen to ...

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Charlie Dates is the senior pastor at the historic Progressive Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois.

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Sermon Outline:


I. Psalm 73 in context

II. God is good

III. Life needs upward perspective

IV. God alone satisfies