I believe this will be a hard topic because this is an age ol’ question that is asked by everyone. At some point in your life I’m positive that most people have asked this same question, “Why does God allow suffering?” I will be doing my own studying of the scriptures to help understand just why it is that we have suffering and what we can do about it. As Christians, we all know that we are called to be the light in the darkness, but is that really a good enough question to help others understand?
Let’s get started, shall we? I would like to start off with James 5:13 “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms”! Suffering will always be around and there is no way to get around it, at some point in your life you will suffer. Suffering doesn’t have to be a bad thing, Philippians 3:8 says “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ”. In my other blogs I often talk about my missionary life here on the Navajo Reservation. Every day I am surrounded by the sufferings of so many people. It get’s pretty overwhelming because all you want to do is help everyone. You can’t no matter how much it hurts to see people abusing themselves. When we are in town, so many drunks come up asking for money to “buy food”, some will just flat out say they are going to buy alcohol. If you do say I’ll buy you a burger, they will say no and walk away. Those are the ones causing themselves to suffer because they are allowing the thing that makes them suffer control their life! At the end of the day they will stay in suffering because it’s what they want, it’s what they know all to well. We are supposed to be the ones there to show them the light, a way out, but if they will not listen, then you just have to let it go. God gives everyone a free will, But it is up to you to do what you like with that free will! God can’t not and will not interfere with that, He is a righteous God, He is an all powerful God, The Creator of the universe! If He was to interfere with the free will that He gave us, that would make Him a unjust, self-absorbed, and selfish God! Now bare with me this one will be long and kinda harsh, but true….
“Hear the word of the Lord, You children of Israel, For the Lord brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: “There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land. By swearing and lying, killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, with bloodshed upon bloodshed. Therefore the land will mourn; and everyone who dwells there will waste away with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air; even the fish of the sea will be taken away. Now let no man contend, or rebuke another; for your people are like those who contend with the priest. Therefore you shall stumble in the day; The prophet also shall stumble with you in the night’ and I will destroy your mother. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for me; because you have forgotten the law of you God I also will forget your children. The more they increased, the more they sinned against Me; I will change their glory into shame. They eat up the sin of My people; They set their heart on their iniquity. and it shall be:like people, like priest. So I will punish them for their ways, and reward them for their deeds. for they shall eat, but not have enough;They shall commit harlotry, but not increase; because they have ceased obeying the LORD”! Hosea 4:1-10
Wouldn’t you say that is a lot like today? Does that mean that God delights in our suffering? NO! 2nd Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not SLACK concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering towards us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance”! I understand the last example was about people causing their own suffering, but what about the ones who can’t control it? The poor, the sick, the hungry, and the dirty; Why do they have to suffer? What did they do? Answer is, they are suffering but they shouldn’t be. Everything was perfect until Eve ate from the forbidden tree. Why did she eat from the tree? The devil tricked her, what is worse is that she listened to that voice inside of her head, telling her to eat it. The devil feeds on suffering, he gets inside of your head, but it’s up to you to decide how to handle it. Which is why God gives us the Holy Ghost to lead and to guide us in everything that we do! Holy Ghost is very vital in everything that we do, Him and the Full Armor Of God, nothing should be able to stop you. 1st Peter 2:19-20 ” For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when your are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth; Who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously” (that would be God) God has never promised that we wouldn’t go through suffering, but we should find Joy amongst in the midst of the suffering. There are all kinds of different suffering and not everyone will go through the same thing, but once we get to heaven suffering will be done away with once and for all. So why is there suffering all among us? A once perfect world is over run by sin! There is Hope though, there is always Hope! Philippians 4:8 says “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things”… I would like to say if you are going through any type of suffering you need to follow Philippians 4:8
So going back to the question at hand, can a great God allow suffering, well the answer is pretty simple, yes! Yes he can allow suffering, why does He allow suffering? He allows it because we have a free will that God will not interfere with. We have the responsibility to pray about the things we can not change, pray without ceasing. Prayer is a very powerful weapon, it will knock down the walls that the devil has set in place. In the midst of suffering you don’t have to be sad or be dismayed, God gives you His word to read and to find comfort in. Jesus also says that is it expedient that He leaves so that the comforter will come. In case you didn’t already know, the comforter is the Holy Ghost! The Holy Ghost will give you a comfort that you have never felt before, a love like you have never felt before, and a rest like you have never known. Does suffering have to be a bad thing? If you are in the world, it will always be bad, as a christian it could very well be a positive thing. That’s when you have to seek God the hardest and don’t stop. You can always find Joy in the midst of suffering. I don’t know if that answered every single question, but it is a good study to start with and continue to grow in. Sleep in peace!