Why Bad Things Happen To Good People

johnoliver_hboYou’ve probably seen a clip from John Oliver’s HBO series “Last Week Tonight” shared on your Facebook feed over the past few months.

Just about every Monday one of his segments obliterating the likes of the Miss America Pageant or for-profit universities goes viral. (I couldn’t find one clean enough to show on the blog. But you know where to find one if you want to watch.)

“Last Week Tonight” is, for better or worse, my primary source of news these days. I’m glad John Oliver is enjoying his success. He was hilarious on “The Daily Show” for many years.

Funny thing though – John Oliver did not score his HBO show on talent alone. He got the show because something terrible happened. 

Let me explain:

In 2009 Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari was a guest on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”. He gave a comedic interview parodying his country’s recent election.

Because of his appearance on “The Daily Show”, Bahari got the wrath of the Iranian government. He was detained and imprisoned in for 4 months.

Because of this imprisonment, Jon Stewart felt a sense of remorse.

Because of his remorse, Stewart felt he had a responsibility to tell Bahari’s story.

Because of this feeling, Jon Stewart decided to direct his first feature film based on Bahari’s story – Rosewater, just released this month.

Because of this film, Stewart had to take a sabbatical from “The Daily Show” to work on the movie.

Because of this sabbatical, long-time correspondent John Oliver was chosen as a temporary replacement host.

Because of the success of his stint as guest host, Oliver was able to secure a deal with HBO to host the “Last Week Tonight” show.

Sometimes life has a funny way of connecting the dots of the pain in our life. 

One of the best shows on television wouldn’t be on the air without something terrible happening to one Iranian man.

Last week Bahari appeared on “The Daily Show” with John Oliver filling in for Stewart once more. He teased Oliver that he wouldn’t have a job if it wasn’t for him. Things ended up working out for both of them in the end.


(Click Here if you can’t see the video above)

Life is painful. It is also confusing – often incredibly so at times. Why would a loving God allow such pain?

Simple – He’s telling a story.

It’s a long range story. It’s a 10,000 piece puzzle where every pain is being carefully put into place to create the greater picture.

Sometimes our suffering takes place to set in motion something that brings out the best in others.

You never know how your suffering impacts the greater story. You won’t always see it evidenced in such a clear way as this.

When we are able to trust in the Lord’s control, we can have peace when our world falls to pieces. We can lay our lives down and focus on bettering the lives of others when we know God is going to connect the dots of our despair into a masterpiece.

In the economy of God, our understanding of events is flipped upside down. When our pain can be used to inspire the people around us, what appears to be a bad thing can actually be a good thing.

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