Why does God allow suffering? If I could make a wager, I would bet that this is one of the most asked questions of all time. The short and simple answer is, “I don’t know.” Somehow, this quick response doesn’t quite satisfy the seeker of knowledge inside me. As I ponder the question, I must admit that for whatever reason, God does allow His creations to suffer on this earth. We see it everyday. Turn on the news, read a newspaper, talk to the people you know … we all suffer at times, it is a fact of life. It can’t be argued. To be alive means that you will eventually go through periods of strife and sorrow. Loved ones will pass away. Friends will betray you. People may even cause you incredible pain.
In his last post on this blog, Russ brought up the topic of free-will. How much of our suffering on this earth is caused by man’s free-will? We are free to believe in God and free to consider him a myth. We are free to live a life that is productive and helps others regardless of our faith and free to live a life of anarchy while hurting others.
The terrorists on 9-11 were free to make decisions that led to that dreadful day. At no time did God intervene and stop them. Why? Why would the Creator choose to allow us to live in a world where days like 9-11 are possible? Perhaps it is because free-will is immensely important to Him. The Bible teaches that marriage is a relationship that should mirror our relationship with God. I know my marriage would be very different if Stefanie only stayed with me because I made her. If I locked her in the house and used force to make her stay, I might be able to keep her around; but would I feel loved? Would there be anything special about a relationship like that? God could easily force us to worship Him. He could of easily sent a Son to walk amongst us that threatened us and used His miracles to hurt those who disobeyed. God could easily use Hell as a weapon (while some preachers and denominations make this mistake, God never has).
Would there be anything special about a God who treated us that way?
Free-will is immensely important to Him. It should be immensely important to us.
There is suffering and pain in this world. Thankfully, our God has promised He is in control. He will fix it when the time is right. We can’t allow the problem of suffering to separate us from God … afterall, Scripture is honest about the problem of suffering. In fact, Scripture teaches us we may suffer even more once we give our life to Christ.
I personally don’t believe that suffering in this world is as big a deal to God as it is to us. He has the ability to see how everything will work out. I compare it to when I see my children go through things that seem like the end of the world to them. Problems with a boyfriend … bullies .. a big test at school. None of that seems as difficult to me as it does to them. Why? I have a better perspective. I know how things will eventually work out.
God has a better perspective on this world than I do. I must engage my faith to believe He will take care of me in the end. Without that faith, this world would be a very scary place indeed!
Lord, thank you for the free-will you have blessed me with. Thank you for giving me a mind that was free to reject you. Thank you for catching my attention long enough for me to accept your Son. Lord, please protect my friends and family while they live in this world of sorrow. For those who have yet to notice you, please work in dramatic ways to catch their attention so they to may live with your promise of salvation.