A loving God and suffering

We sometimes ask, “If there is a loving God, why does He stand back and do nothing while the world is full of suffering?” Suffering in our own lives can be a big problem. Some of us are not able to believe in God or the Bible until we have found an answer to the problem of suffering.

Suffering seems to be of three types. Caused by ourselves – pain and suffering as a result of accident injuries or lifestyle choices. Caused by mankind in general – war, persecution and pollution. Outside human control – floods, earthquakes, illness and death.

Jesus had an interesting comment about suffering inflicted on innocent people. Relations between the Roman governor Pilate and the Jews at the time of Jesus were never very good. The tension from time to time resulted in blood being shed. The people pointed out to Jesus a recent incident. In Luke 13 v 1-3 we read:

“Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

Jesus answered their question by assuring his listeners that those killed were no more wicked than other people. The interesting point for us to note is that he is showing that such events should make us stop and think about the fact that we shall all die eventually. Such events disturb our routine and remind us that it could be our turn next. Like suffering caused by injuries, we are being warned that we have a problem that requires thinking about. This should encourage us to look into what life is all about.

Jesus again gives us help when thinking about suffering from events such as floods and earthquakes over which we have no control. Following on from the incident that we looked at earlier, Jesus also mentions the suffering caused by a tower falling on some people in Luke 13 v 4-5:

“Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

If we trust what the Bible tells us, we can be assured that one day suffering will end. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ will come back to the earth to eventually remove all of our world’s imperfections, including pain and death. Two examples of this comforting message are:

“He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces.” Isaiah 25:8

“God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

The Bible tells us that God sometimes sends suffering to encourage us to go in the right direction in life and makes it plain that our Creator gives us the choice of whether to obey Him or not; what are you waiting for?

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