In 2013, Daniel Larsen was recently declared innocent after 45 years in a Southern California prison. I can’t imagine the mixed emotions –rejoicing for being freed, angry for being imprisoned for a crime he did not commit.
Surely the question has gone through Larsen’s head: “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
But this is a baseless question according to Scripture. There are simply no good people to begin with. After all, “There is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10).
Like Larsen, we often incur consequences for actions we did not commit –and that is certainly unjust. However, it doesn’t change the bigger question. Instead of asking “Why do bad things happen to good people?” We should be asking, “Why does God allow anything good to happen to us at all?”
In a fallen world, we should expect injustice, pain, sorry, frustration, and disappointment to be the norm. None of us are innocent of sin and therefore cannot expect anything different.
However, there is one exception. There was one man who was completely innocent but unjustly punished: Christ. And in poetic fashion, the innocent One took on what we deserve so that we, who were undeserving, could be set free.
Perhaps, then, Daniel Larsen’s release from prison shouldn’t point us to the reality of injustice, but to the greater picture of freedom in Christ.