Why does God allow suffering? This is a valid question to ask as we look around us in a world full of mess and chaos. Millions of people are dying each second even at this very moment you read this article. Diseases and health problems are inflicting people with untold suffering and depression. War and conflict kill an incredible number of people. Babies are being aborted and murdered by millions. Famine-stricken regions have nothing to eat just waiting for their bodies to give up while others are left homeless by natural calamities and man-made devastation. There is no denying that this is an ugly world — very different from what God intended it should be.
Considering all these negative things in the world, we ask ourselves, “where is God in all these?” This is a crucial question that we should address. Many people arrived at a wrong conclusion leaving them confused and asking if God really cares for His creation. Others even conclude that God is unfair, tyrant, and unloving and therefore made a decision never to believe in God anymore.
This should not be the case. Exploring the question, “why does God allow suffering” will help us gain a new perspective and will arrive at the right conclusion. With this in mind, I listed three reasons which I believe the reason why God allow suffering.
Reason no. 3: Character Building
God sometimes prioritize our character building over our own comfort. Suffering can affect both the old and young, rich and poor. It is easier to explain suffering if it is of our own doing but there are times that our sufferings are caused by circumstances that are beyond our control.
But does this mean that God is unfair? When bad things happen to good people, is God being injustice? The answer is no. Since we live in this world whose ruler is satan (II Cor. 4:4; I John 5:19), we cannot live a life free of trouble. But God is faithful who promises that we will not “be tempted beyond what we are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that we may be able to bear it” (I Cor. 10:13). With each trials we face, our character is being tested and if we overcome with God’s help, we will become a better person and fitter to rule with God in His second coming.
Reason no. 2: Not allowing suffering is against God’s Purpose
To answer why God will not simply take away the pain and suffering in the world, we need to ask a different question. What if God will not allow suffering? The answer to this question might amaze you.
God in His infinite love and wisdom gave us one of His greatest gift; freedom of choice. But instead of cherishing this gift, mankind abused it from the time of Adam and Eve until now. The gift of free will is designed for us to develop godly character and unique attributes. If God will force His will in us, we will be REDUCED to mere ROBOTS and ANIMALS. Our behavior will just be based on God’s program and dictation.
Reason no. 1: For Our Learning
God gave us a manual on how to live this life, the Bible. It is God’s very own mind written for us to know His will and purpose for our life. God “set before us life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore, choose life, that you and your descendants may live” (Deut. 30:19). God gave us a test but unlike any exams in school, He gave us already the ANSWER — CHOOSE LIFE! But we humans naturally tend to go against God’s will and find another way to which we think lead to happiness. Breaking God’s spiritual laws will also break us. Most of the time, we learn things the hard way. The scripture said, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (I John 5:3). Our wrong choices will lead to more sufferings. Pain is a gift from God to warn us of the impending suffering we might face if we continue with our wrong choices. When we suffer, we learn that the only way to live this life is to follow God. Our suffering will lead us to repentance and will call us to change for the better.
Breaking God’s spiritual laws will also break us.
Ever wondered how quickly we forget about God during smooth sailing? Suffering brings us closer to God because we know that there is Someone bigger than ourselves; that we cannot actually fully comprehend our potential without God revealing it to us.
Let us remember that this world is presently ruled by satan. This is very evident when you read II Corinthians 4:4 which tells us that the god of this world is satan. For this reason, we have more reasons to pray earnestly for Jesus to hasten His second coming and establish His eternal Kingdom here on Earth. Only by that time we will experience real and lasting happiness, peace, and abundance. In that time, Revelation 21:3-4 will finally be fulfilled:
“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
If you are now suffering and it is certain that you will as this is a normal part of life, just learn to entrust God with all your care and concern. Surrender yourself and submit to His perfect will – knowing that all things will work together for good for those who are called for His divine purpose (Romans 8:28). Be of courage and good cheer. Every time, I undergo intense trials, I always tell myself, “This too shall pass”. Just focus on what lies ahead of us and do not lose your vision to the Kingdom of God and you will find the strength to carry through every suffering you may encounter.
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