Either God is Love (I John 4:16), or He is not. Either He is in control of all things, or He is not. Daily, hourly, moment by moment over the face of the earth tragedy strikes someone, somewhere. Every human being, at some time or another in their life, will experience the anguish of disease, destruction, death of loved ones, hunger, displacement, abandonment, betrayal, persecution, torture, and the anxieties and fears that come as prelude to one's own death.
We stand numbed and in shock and we ask, "Where is God in all this.? It is the right question to ask and we have a right to ask it; face-to-face of God if we could.
But the question is not the end: Leaving the question to stand alone will almost always lead to hatred of God. Other questions flood the mind; questions like, "I'm a good person; why did God let this happen to me?
That last question is the best question. It is the only one that has any hope of leading us out of the maze of deep emotional pain and disillusion. Often Christian's are the ones who become the most disillusioned and who are in greater danger of hating God because they think their religion is like a Kevlar vest; something to protect them from the bullets of reality. People who do not believe in God have no target at which they can aim the really hard questions that perplex them after disaster strikes. God wants us to ask difficult questions and He wants to give answers: There is a Book that is full of answers; the Bible.
Rightly understood, these answers help us build hope and trust in a way that lets us move on, believing that God is what He says He is: Id est, "Love."
If God permitted only good things to happen to those who say they love Him; and if He set His filter so that the bad things afflicted only "bad people " (those who deny any love, allegiance, or regard for Him), why would we serve Him and give Him first place in our life?
Here is the answer: All of us would serve God for just one reason; to get the good stuff and avoid the bad parts of this wilderness we call life.
There are some things God cannot do and still be God. He cannot force anyone to love Him. If He were to do this He would not be God; He would be "dictator" and "despot."
Remember, there are two opposing forces in this world and in the universe: We call them "Good" and "Evil." They are real, they are diametric, and they are at war for the soul of each person who has ever walked or will walk the earth.
We are witness to cataclysmic collisions between the god of this world (Satan), and the God of the universe (the Creator God). The controversy over the ultimate destiny of each soul is about to end (I believe), and while Satan uses every weapon in his arsenal God can use only one; Love. That is the whole point of John 3:16.
Satan is the god of this world and he is making the best of the time left him to sweep as many people as he can with him into a shared oblivion.
The God of the universe, though He had all the weapons, can use just one; Love. He forces no man or woman to love Him. To be fully God, fully just, fully loving, full and complete Truth, God is constrained (by His Love) to accept our alegience only if it is offered freely and fully. God has to respect our free will. After all, it was God who created and gave us freedom of choice.
So this is why bad things happen to good people. God must permit things both good and bad to fall on us in order to avoid any accusations of coercion so that in the End, it can be truthfully restated, "God is Love." e.c.