Why Does God Allow Suffering?

Edel Neufeld

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Sorrow. Pain. Suffering. All have experienced the meaning of these words. With much pain do we en­ter this world and with pain do we get old and die. Everywhere around us, suffering is evident. We see it in the eyes of the children who call a sidewalk their home. We meet with it in the slums and the brothels. It is caused by the natural di­sasters around us. We experience it when death takes a loved one from us. We feel it in our society of broken homes. Suffering discriminates against no one. It affects the young and the old. Riches cannot bribe it away. No culture, no nation has been able to eradicate it. The very creation of God groans under it.

Many there are who ask the ques­tion, “How is it possible for a good and loving God to exist, in the light of such suffering?” How can we reconcile a loving Father with the agonies of this world? If God is good, if He is love, how can He sit back and allow such pain?

To be able to answer, it is necessary to understand the root of all suffering. God is not the creator of evil. After He finished His creation, everything was “very good.” This world knew no pain. No death had ever occurred. No sickness had caused pain. No tear of sorrow had ever been shed. Adam and Eve knew no evil. But Sa­tan found an avenue to introduce it to this world. He placed the idea in Eve’s mind that God was withholding a good thing from her. He beguiled her to believe that there was more to attain to than what God had given her; but the cost for attaining it was to disregard God’s clear command­ment. To convince her to rebel, Satan de­nied that death would follow.

What a damnable lie! Just as good re­sults in life, peace, and joy, so evil results in death, pain, and suffering. It is evil to reb­el against our good Creator. Thus, when Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God’s way, they opened the door of this world to evil. All wickedness, injustice, death, pain, and sorrow entered through the act of re­jecting God and His way. Since that day, sorrow has been propagated by sin. Every pain we suffer finds its root in the problem of sin, whether it be our own or someone else’s. All the pain surrounding us, every tear we have shed in our own personal sor­row, has been caused by some sin.

But, even though suffering is caused by evil, God has produced the ultimate good out of suffering. The most extreme suffering ever experienced on Earth, the dying of Jesus Christ on the cross, brought about the greatest victory of good–the bruising of Satan’s head! The Christian experiences this also in his personal life: God uses those very things that cause him the most pain, to bring about good. The Christian is refined by suffering, drawn closer to the Comforter in sorrow, made more Christ-like through the taking up of His painful cross. This is evidence of God’s great goodness and power, that He is able to turn even the effects of evil for good to His children.

And yet, the question lingers in the minds of many: “How can a good God sit back and allow such suffering?” The answer is that God has nev­er been passive about the sufferings of humanity. He has never been deaf to the groans of His creation.

Jesus Christ is God’s answer to this world’s pain. In Him we find the only answer possible. God looked upon His creation after the Fall and saw the pain evil had caused. He sees when a sparrow falls to the ground. He notices each tear, each heart­break, every injustice and sorrow. And He knows the root of it all is sin. So He provided a way to remove the very root of the problem. It cost Him everything, but He provided it nonetheless.

Jesus Christ denied Himself the glories of heaven and en­tered into our world of pain. He became acquainted with all our grief. He didn’t enter this world in a kingly palace, but was found in a lowly stable. He had no place to rest His head. He surround­ed Himself with the heartbroken, the suffering, the poor, and the rejected of this world. He brought healing, forgiveness, and hope wherever He went. But He was rejected by His creation. They spat on Him and mocked Him to His face. After enduring much agony and pain, He was nailed to a mean cross. But His suffering went even beyond the tortures of His body.

On that cross, Jesus Christ bore all the sin and suffering of this world. Surely, He has borne our griefs and carried our sor­rows. He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:4-5). To what purpose? That by His stripes we could be healed! Healing of every kind; healing for every malady. What He accomplished on the cross was the de­struction of the very source of humanity’s problem. Sin lost its gripping power. Death lost its sting. He opened the way for us to be freed from sin–completely set free from the cause of our suffering!

Shame on the prophets of Satan who propagate a sin-you-must doctrine; that tell the masses they cannot help but to sin. Jesus Christ came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8), and that is exactly what He accomplished. “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body,” “for sin shall not have dominion over you” (Romans 6:12, 14)! To sin is to propagate the suffering of this world. Salvation, and the resulting deliverance from all sin, is the solution to humanity’s groanings. Every time a sinner repents and forsakes all sin, the momentum of wickedness and its result­ing pain and sorrow receives a tremendous blow.

It is unreasonable to blame God for the suffering of this world, as long as one rejects His provided cure for it. It was the choice to rebel against God and His way that brought every evil upon this earth, and by such choices are evil and its effects still propagated today. Sinners ask, “How is it possible for a good and loving God to exist, in light of such suffering?” And God replies with a question of His own: “How is it possible for you to choose to remain in your sins, in the light of such suffering?”

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