This question is as old as humanity. An entire book of the Old Testament is devoted to this question: the book of Job.
Today, I learned some news that took my breath away.
As you recall, I was recently in New Orleans attending a meeting of the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Advisory Committee, a group on which I serve. One of the people we met on that trip was a retired teacher--Rich Cozzone--who had come from Ohio to volunteer as the overall coordinator of the volunteer villages.
"Rich Cozzone first became interested in helping the Gulf recover when he was on his way back to Ohio after dropping his son — then a sophomore at Tulane University. Rich had just left his son at school when Katrina hit. Rich said 'He called me from a bus that was evacuating him to Jackson, MS. From there he hitchhiked to Tennessee where I picked him up, safe and sound. I figured that I owed something back and this relief work has become a passion'.”
(Quote and photo from http://www.pcusa.org/pcnews/gulfrelief/001.htm where there is a longer story about Rich.)
In February 2006, Rich came back to the Gulf, this time as a volunteer, not as a parent returning his son to school. He was in charge of training and overseeing workteams. Then in September, 2007, he was put in charge of all the Volunteer Villages. It was in this capacity that we met him.
When we met him, he exuded enthusiasm for the task at hand. He indicated he decided he had to leave his home in Ohio, and come to the Gulf coast area to volunteer--for however much time it took to help with the recovery effort.
Well, his time has now ended--tragically, he was killed in a traffic accident last night.
When I received this news, it absolutely took my breath away.
I do not often ask--why do bad things happen to good people. But this time I did.
There are no other words right now.