Out of chaos, brilliant stars are born.
I Ching Hexagram #3
A good friend recently asked why bad things happen to good people. She also went on to say that she'd heard "things happen for a reason" one too many times.
I really have no answers--and I don't believe there are any for us mere mortals--but it's something I've thought about over the years.
When my Aunt Bert died, I was generally pissed off at the universe. All I could think about was that it was so unfair that such a good person who touched so many died, when there were so many out there who weren't good or kind or sweet like her...but I came to realize that's not my judgement to make.
How can anyone come to terms with such seeming cruelty and inequality on the part of either a supreme being or life in general (it doesn't matter what your beliefs are)? I finally decided that there is no order or rationality to such things. There is no purpose to the loss of a loved one, there is no reason for someone to be hit with the cancer stick, there is no hidden agenda that we are unable to comprehend. There is no veil of understanding that will magically be lifted if only we think about it long enough. It's all random. Things just...happen.
This is not to absolve us of taking care of ourselves and our world. You don't get to smoke like a chimney for 50 years and when you're dying of lung cancer, cry to God, "Why me?" My feeling, though, is that for the average person, it's completely random. (Karma is another story, and I think that addresses behavioral issues rather than health issues.)
If all this sounds bleak, I don't mean it to be--and I don't think it is. If I sound like a nihilist, I'm not. I believe that there is certainly purpose to our lives, things to be done, people to influence (hopefully in a positive way). We all have free will and we all have potential. Our attitude and outlook can certainly have an impact on our successes (or failures) in life, just as our physical behaviors can affect our health. Trying to figure out why bad things happen to good people is like spitting into the wind, and it's a question that has no answer. I gave up trying to figure it out years ago, because there is nothing to figure out. It's random.
When I came to the point where I realized that life IS what it IS, and that there is precious little that I can do about it, it was really a relief. Instead of trying to wrap our minds around what possible purpose there can be for such random acts of cruelty from the powers that be, it seems that the only way to deal with it is to come to terms with it, reach the point of acceptance, and move forward. In the meantime, it makes sense to have fun, not waste time on foolish endeavors, and be a decent person.