Bible Questions & Answers
Q: Why Does God Allow Suffering?
This is one of the most difficult questions for Believers to answer. Yet, the Bible provides clarity on this important subject.
How can a gracious God allow such things in His world as war, broken homes, disease, pain, and death, especially when their effects often are felt most keenly by those who are apparen- tly innocent? Either He is not a God of love and is indifferent to human suffering, or else He is not a God of power and is therefore helpless to do anything about it.
When man looks through the eyes of circumstance, his conclusion will be born from his vain imagination. Every question man poses, he can find the answer in God's Word. Or else, man left to his own devices, can only presume that God does not know what He is doing. This will always prove to be futile and fatal. "Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, why hast Thou made me thus?" (Romans 9:20).
We are not positioned to establish the standards of what is right. Only Christ, who is reality and deity can do that. We need to settle it, in our minds and hearts, whether we understand it or not, that whatever God does is, by definition, right.
Having settled this by faith, we are then conditioned to seek for ways in which we can profit spiritually from the sufferings in life as well as the blessings. As we consider such matters, it is helpful to keep the following great truths continually in our minds.
There is really no such thing as the "innocent" suffering. Since "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), there is no one who is exempt from God's wrath on the basis of his own merit.
As far as babies are concerned, and others who may be incompetent mentally to distinguish right and wrong, it is clear from both Scripture and universal experience that they are sinners by nature and thus will inevitably become sinful by choice as soon as they are able to do so.
The world is now under God's Curse (Genesis 3:17) because of man's rebellion against God's commands. This "bondage of corruption," with the "whole world groaning and travailing together in pain" (Romans 8:21, 22), is universal, affecting all men and women and children everywhere. God did not create the world this way, and one day He will set all things right again.
Quote: "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" (Revelation 21:4).
The Lord Jesus Christ, who was the only truly "innocent" and "righteous" man in all history, nevertheless has suffered more than anyone else who ever lived. And this He did for us! "Christ willingly died for our sins" (I Corinthians 15:3). He suffered and died, in order that ultimately He might deliver the world from the curse, and that, even now, He can deliver from sin and its bondage to anyone who will receive Him in faith as their Savior.
Knowing Christ as our redeemer, we can realize that our present sufferings can be turned to His glory and our good. The sufferings of unsaved men are often used by the Holy Spirit to cause them to realize their need of salvation and to turn to Christ in repentance and faith.
The sufferings Christians experience are always intended to be the means of developing a growing dependence on God and a more Christ-like character (Hebrews 12:11). Christian suffering also causes us to cry out to God for deliverance, and when He does deliver us, we are able to comfort those who are likewise suffering, 2 Corinthians 1:3-7. Thus, God is loving and merciful even when, "for the present," He allows trials and sufferings to come in our lives.
Quote: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28