So many people are perplexed and wonder, if God were good than why so much evil and pain in the world?
I think there are a few reasons.
1.) suffering is a byproduct of living in a sinful world. We have to deal with people who can be selfish just like we can ourselves at times.
God has given each of us an ability to choose right and wrong and sometimes we
A.) Choose wrong and reap the consequences
B.) Others sinful choices affect us. We look at the victims of fraud, drunk driving accidents, terror attacks, homicide and rape and we realize that sometimes people suffer because of others!
C.) We can also suffer as a result of the fallen creation, when sin entered into human existence it acted as a computer virus in a way and messed up the created order. Disease, natural disaster, and death entered the equation. Before the fall, creation knew no curse of sin, it knew no death nor illness nor pain or sorrow.
The good news is that God is a redemptive God. He deals with man’s sin problem on the cross so that those who put their hope in him can look forward to a day when the curse of sin is totally broken! For the time being us who believe in Jesus should act as a glimmer of hope to a dark and broken world, full of pain and hopelessness!
Life here in this world will never be as it once was in perfection as long as sin remains, however, God gives us grace and strength for ever trial. He gives everyone who has come to faith in Christ his permanent presence.
(Romans 8:35-39) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:“For your sake we face death all day long;we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
-Nothing can remove God’s love for us in Jesus Christ, not even the worst of trials. Now why if God loves us, why does he put us through hard times?
1.) As we have already seen, we live in a fallen world. “For the creation was subjected to frustration” creation is the natural order of this physical existence, yet, in it’s unredeemed state it groans for the “children of God to be revealed”
Romans 8:18-21, 35-39 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God
One day Jesus will make all things right and will remove the decay, yet before he comes he wants to give people a chance to come to him, as many as possible.
2.) Suffering is nothing in comparison to what awaits the child of God. It is “not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us”
A.) Suffering develops a child of God, and although God is not the author of pain and evil he skillfully uses it.
James 1:2-5 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
How to respond to suffering as a Christian?
1.) our perspective needs to be right.
We must see our pain in light of eternity, which can be very hard at times, but we must realize tragedy and trouble can be great tools.
2.) we need to persevere and not throw in the towel. It’s easy to get discouraged but if we do that we miss what he is doing in us.
A.) Why? So we can be “mature and complete”
3.) We need wisdom in our trials. In many of my own personal hardships, I needed wisdom to know HOW to respond in a way that would speed up and maximize growth. Cooperation is very helpful and resisting is not the best option, it usually only makes the trial harder. We ought to ask, “Lord what do you want me to learn from this?” “How should I respond to such trying times?”
4.) We must not give way to tempting doubt.
We may think God doesn’t care or he has no interest, but the truth is he does. We must not doubt his willingness to help us through.
Jesus’s disciples thought this on one occassion. In Matthew 8:23-26, the disciples got into a boat and were sailing along with Jesus and everything seemed ok till “Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. ”
Jesus had not left them, he was only sleeping. When he seems quite it could be just another opportunity to trust that no matter how turbulent life’s waters get, he is still there.
For those who don’t know Christ, He invites them to know Him and trust their lives to him. He never promises an easy life but rather a life where they can be confident of His presence to never forsake them if they recieve his gift of mercy by acknowleging their sins and trusting what His ultimate suffering on the cross can do for them.