Does God allow suffering? This is a tough question that has multiple sides to it. However the simple, yet difficult, answer is that God does allow suffering to occur. Many go into this question with frustration of how a loving God could permit terrible things such as disease, war and death. When we see apparently “innocent” people affected by these things our emotions can run even higher. Some end up thinking God either does not love or that he can’t do anything about the suffering.
We actually need to look at the beginning of man to start to understand this question. God created us with free will so we could choose to be in a loving relationship with him. True love requires true choice and we could not experience that with God without being able to freely choose that relationship. Unfortunately, we have used that freedom to disobey God. The result was nature and earth were fractured, disease and suffering started to occur, and pain along with death became part of our human experience. Yes, God gave us choice but sin is what brought all the evil things and suffering into the world – not God.
Suffering now is part of our existence because we are living in this now fractured world. As for the idea that we are innocent, the reality of sin is that we are all tainted by it and suffer from its consequences. However, even though we experience suffering and trials, God remains loving and merciful. He is not distant, uncaring and uninvolved. He also is painfully aware of our suffering and hurts with us. The good news is that Jesus has paid the price for our sin and will one day bring suffering and our separation from him to an end. No one has suffered more for the sins of the world than Jesus who died to offer us forgiveness.
The hard part of living through suffering is choosing to believe that God may be using our present circumstances for something even greater and better for us. We can’t always know or see what that is but his love promises that this is the case. He is there with us and offers comfort and hope in the midst of our trials. And if we look even further, God promises eternal life with no suffering or evil in his heavenly kingdom.
The choice that God offers through free will is still available today. We can choose to believe things about God that are not true and place the blame somewhere other than where it rightfully belongs. We can choose to turn angry and bitter about those difficult times. However, we can also turn to God for peace, courage, relief, forgiveness and comfort. Has anger and blame ever really helped us find true peace and get through life’s darkest moments? God is there and ready to lovingly meet us and bring us through the other side of those hard times. Choose to run to him, instead of from him, trusting that intimacy with God will sustain you when the intensity of life occurs.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
Whether God allows suffering and cares about you are big questions and for many it will take more than a few paragraphs to trust this message. That is why we would love to talk with you about suffering or any other questions about God. Chat now.