Why Does God Allow So Much Pain And Suffering?
There is no single answer to this question. The answers are varied, depending on the circumstances surrounding each situation. But what circumstances, you may ask, could warrant the continued allowance of such great suffering as we see all over the world?
Most of the suffering in this world need not be, but is brought about by the wickedness of mankind. Mankind could easily rid this world of most of it’s suffering if it were not for his selfishness; his sin. He is allowed by God to continue in his selfishness and sin because of his freewill. God has given mankind this freedom in order to show mercy and forgiveness to those who will choose to repent. When God created this world it was all “very good”, until sin entered. God’s purpose is to redeem repentant mankind from his sin and to then provide for his eternal welfare. Pain and suffering are allowed to continue because mankind’s freewill continues. Why doesn’t God intervene and take his freewill away? Because that would thwart His entire purpose for creation. God’s desire is for us to use our freewill to choose rightly and to be redeemed. There have been times when God has intervened in the sufferings of the world. Many more times than we know, He has brought relief in a supernatural way, or relief by His hand extended through His children. The Christians have been His means of demonstrating His concern and His love to a sinful and suffering world.
Christians also suffer. Their suffering is very different than the ungodly. Christians sometimes suffer for doing good (1 Peter 3:17). Persecution and tribulation are a real part of the Christians life as they stay true to the faith (Acts 8:1, 2 Corinthians 12:10, John 16:33). Sickness and affliction also strikes Christians (Philippians 2:25-27, James 5:14). Why does God allow His people, as do lost people, to experience these things? Why doesn’t He intervene? I believe He does, every time. His intervention may not do away with the suffering, but it does bring grace in the form of strength for the situation. Consider the many thousands of Christians who have been tortured for their faith. His grace was with them, even to the point of death. They suffered greatly, but not alone. His presence was there to sustain them (Romans 8:35-39, Hebrews 11:32-40). The same is true for Christians who suffer sickness, affliction, abuse, or any of the many situation that the world, the flesh or the devil may bring their way. The Lord never said that suffering wouldn’t be our lot, just the opposite. But He did say that He would never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Also, He invites us to cast all of our cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7). The Christian suffers much the same as the rest of the world, but he has God’s help.
Recall the account of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). God’s grace was on Lazarus as he lay begging at the rich man’s gate. God didn’t heal him or make him rich, but God did sustain him. Could it be that he was there with purpose? Perchance, to give the rich man an opportunity to respond—to repent of his selfishness. Oh, the many opportunities that have been missed.
Our question wasn’t posed because it has an easy answer. It doesn’t. In summary, much of the suffering of the world is brought about by sin, and much of the suffering of the Christians is brought about by our being in the world. God’s reason for this creation makes “freewill” a necessity. Freewill used wrongly makes suffering a reality.
So what is the Christian to do? The suffering among the lost is an opportunity for the Christian to show God’s love towards them by rendering aid and comfort. And the suffering of the Christian is an opportunity for him to show his faithfulness to
God and God’s strength towards him.
With all this in mind consider what a man who had suffered greatly for the faith had to say—
Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us!