Why Does God Allow People To Suffer? How Could A Loving God Allow So Much Suffering?
How can bad things happen to good people? We should actually be asking, how can anything good happen at all? We are a fallen race of God haters. And if we do not hate God at this moment in our lives, it is because God acted upon us for the sake of His son. There should be beautiful mountains, green grass, beautiful snow fall, breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, we should be in this gloom world of death. The fact that God gives children, marriage and love to the believing & the unbelieving shows that he is a gratuitous God and yet, man takes these things, claims them for his own, and then shuns God. Suffering is man’s fault from the beginning, not Gods. To understand more about The Fall, the start of Sin and its relationship to God, read and study the book of Genesis; and more previous blogs on sin!
First we have to understand what suffering is. There are 2 types of cruelty and suffering.
Human cruelty and suffering:
God does not intervene to prevent people from exercising their free will, because to do so would be to deprive human beings of the choice that makes them human. (the sin of the garden of Eden) — So long as we are going to allow our cause and effect in a universe shaped by your choice, cruelty and evil are going to exist. (sin)
The natural cruelty and unpleasant cycles of life:
God obscures himself. If God would appear in all of his glory to people on a regular basis, you wouldn’t need faith. There could really be no such thing as faith, it would just be reality. Nobody has to prove to you that the sun rises everyday. If God allows us to believe in Him, which is the ultimate choice, then he’s going to have to obscure himself behind tragedy and honor and all of those types of things.
We are tempted to believe that suffering is a punishment for sin. While the bible does make it clear that suffering and sin are clearly connected in a universal sense, and causing rebellion against God only brings us heartache, — the amount of suffering one endures is not equivalent to his/her sin. The book of Job expresses this point-Jesus supports it. (The book of Job explains the physical, psychological and even spiritual depths of suffering. In John’s Gospel we see Jesus having an encounter with a man blind from birth. Out of curiosity, his disciples ask, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents?” (John 9:2) They ask this automatically assuming that because of his birth defect, a fault in this mans life, it was a result of a sin that either the man himself has committed, or his parents. Yet look at Jesus’ reply. “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:3) And then Jesus heals the man. What we get out of this are a few points. 1. We do not always know God’s plan but his plan is always for our greater good…if we are his followers. It was all for His glory. From this one man’s healing, hundreds of other people are now believers in seeing this miracle, except for just one man. It is less about ourselves and more about how we affect those around us. 2. We tend to only see the temporary things versus the eternal. We tend to glorify the things that do not really matter. Your body is not as important as your soul/spirit. It will fade away in this world and die off as your soul passes to the next. God is interested in saving your spirit — sometimes he allows your body to suffer in order to bring your spirit to himself. Again, all for His glory. This teaching is actually very simple. Those who live now, are now warned of an afterlife and suffering if they do not accept and follow Jesus Christ.
Suffering is a test of faith:
In times of intense turmoil, we cling to what we have truly placed our hope in. It shows what our true foundation is built upon. Like the prophet, Habakkuk, suffering calls us to truly communicate to the world, “yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will take joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:18).
While suffering is dreadful, evil, damaging, we can use it and should use it to be made purposeful. When we are in this burden, what we should do is sit and sulk in it. Nor should we think that God ‘has it out for us’, hate ourselves or others, become bitter, or even just give up. What we should do is allow our faith to make us stronger and long after Christ. To trust the plan of God and to Lean on Him for strength.
Most of the evil, war, malice, and hatred in the world comes from? Much of it is a direct consequence of our wrong choices as humans. With this being said, this is one of God’s greatest gifts to us: the ability to choose evil or good/ right or wrong. The problem is many, if not all, choose to do evil rather that good of course. If we made a bad choice and God intervened each time, we merely would just be puppets! No need to even try, God will do it for us. And for those who ask, “what about the suffering in the world that isn’t a result of our own actions? Natural disasters, disease, illness.
You can never learn that Christ is all you need until Christ is all that you have.
We live in a broken world. As the apostle Paul states, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.(Rom 8:22) We can trace this all the way back to the Fall in Genesis; Adam and Eves time. Paul even goes into detail about the promise that one day ‘the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of god.’ (Rom 8:21) Even with this promise we see the world just isn’t how it was intended to be ever since the fall. We see this even in Revelations 21:4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more mourning, or crying or pain, for the old order of things have passed away.” The natural laws we have in the world are both a blessing and a curse. The cell replication in our bodies allows our bodies to develop, gain strength, and grow yet.. Can result in cancer. Death is a necessary part of a lifestyle. (1 Corinthians 15:26)
What’s God’s purpose in creating us?
When we hear that our God is a ‘loving God’, we assume that He wants His humans to be happy, pain free, comfortable and without sin. If he loves us He would never let us go through trials! This is also known as prosperity theology. Or what if there’s a different answer? An answer that is based on God’s attributes and His word verses our own preferences and opinions. The answer is actually that God’s purpose in creating human beings is to bring them to know and love Him.
Comfortable & happy < to know and love God. Comfort and being complacent has a habit of letting us forget about God. We forget why we need God, what our purpose is, His will and our role. Ever wonder why people, even non christians suddenly begin to pray when times get intensely hard? Or someone’s automatic response when they really really want something is to pray about it even when they don’t believe it? Our hearts know whom too long for, it is just the matter of ‘what’ will it long for.
For some, suffering and hardships will lead them to abandon God and blame him for the damage caused, and for some, it causes them to seek further for God. Many individuals’ testimonies about how they came to Christ include suffering or pain as a crucial part of their journey.
As I previously said, You can never learn that Christ is all you need until Christ is all that you have. A great saying I greatly admire from CS Lewis in his book The Problem Of Pain, ‘God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, and screams in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.’
Following this, spiritual and moral growth just as human beings requires a world of suffering to bring us closer to God. You see, I can not show generosity if there is no one that has less than me, I can not practice compassion unless there is someone who needs caring for
If God sent His own son to suffer, get beaten, ashamed, abused, ridiculed and to die for us…what makes you think we will not go through suffering as well? Self righteousness maybe? You are not who you may think you are if you think ‘bad things should happen to good people’…on whose definition of ‘good’ are you using? If it is your own, may I remind you that even our own hearts and minds are corrupted. So we shouldn’t settle for many things we may think we are wise about unless the bible confirms it.
2 Corinthians 1:3–4 Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those, who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.