Why Do Bad Things Happen?

The Lord’s governance of all people is called His Divine Providence.  There is nothing that happens outside of the care of the Lord and His providence.  This does not mean that the Lord wills evil things to happen.  The Lord is continually providing for all that is good and true and useful to effect us and inspire us.  His will is only that good will happen.  However, He also created people to be free.  Therefore people make choices that are merely somewhat good, or partially good and sometimes downright evil and wrong.  The Lord is present with people in these choices trying to bend them to a lesser evil or even to what is good.  He will never exert His influence to the point where someone’s will is broken or pushed beyond their own free choice.  We are also told that the Lord will only permit evil to happen if good may come from it.  For example, we can see in the death of an individual how often it will impact people for good; by either inspiring others to change their lives, or live more spiritually, or some such thing.  When evil things happen the Lord is there permitting it (not willing or desiring it to happen), providing that good might come from the choice.  

When, therefore, it is said that God permits, this does not mean that He wills, but that He cannot avert on account of the end, which is salvation. Whatever is done for the sake of the end, namely, salvation, is according to the laws of the Divine Providence. [Divine Providence 234]