“There’s too much suffering.”
We live in an imperfect world, and many things are simply beyond our control. You might be going through a painful illness. People get mugged on the streets. Our loved ones may die unexpectedly. Families lose everything in an earthquake. Countless children die in wars.
Our suffering might make us question God’s love and power. But through it all, God suffers with us each time we are hurt. More than that, he has dealt with the root cause of suffering itself.
“Why is there suffering at all?”
There are two causes to suffering: one physical, one moral.
On the one hand, we’re innocent victims of physical evil. For example, when you get really sick, you suffer, but it’s nobody’s fault.
On the other hand, we’re active agents of moral evil. This may sound like a harsh statement, but it comes from the fact that we have free will. Everyday we’re free to make decisions, and we might do the wrong thing. Sometimes we pay the price. Sometimes others pay the price.
Evil and malice often overpower us, even though our conscience tells us to do good. Have you ever been spiteful, however briefly, toward someone you love? Sometimes we just can’t help ourselves. So we add to the suffering in the world, without the power to end it. Even though we can’t be individually blamed for everything that’s wrong, the entire human race suffers because of moral evil.
But why are there physical and moral evil? Because we are separated from God. We as the human race have turned away from him. And without God’s protection and guidance, evil prevails in the physical world and in the human heart. That’s why we suffer.
“God isn’t doing anything about suffering.”
Actually, God already has done something. He came into the world as Jesus and suffered life’s hardships with us. On the cross, he paid the ultimate price for human evil: death and complete severance from God.
God has defeated evil through Jesus Christ. If we believe in Jesus, one day “he will wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4).
Even today, he can give us the same victory and help each one of us through our sorrows in life. How do we know? Because Jesus was resurrected. When we believe in Jesus, our old, weak, error-prone self dies with him and we are resurrected into a new life. Then we no longer fear suffering because Jesus strengthens us, comforts us, and gives us peace.
“Why doesn’t God end my suffering now?”
You may have seen a loving parent let a toddler try to walk on its own. The baby might fall and cry, and the mom or dad naturally feels for the child. But isn’t that how we learn to walk?
Through our suffering, God lets us see the truth about our predicament. When we realize that we need help to get away from the world’s evil and from our own weaknesses, we learn to turn to him. If we ask him for help, God will respond.
Suffering is a sad part of life, but God can make it a good thing. When we believe in Jesus, our suffering and troubles become light and momentary, because they are “achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Jesus came to this world to offer you a gift: true peace and joy in all circumstances and a real hope of heaven. The first step to accepting this gift is to believe that he did all this for you. Ask him to forgive your mistakes and change your life for the better. If you are determined to be freed from evil and its suffering, Jesus will show you how.
So what is your response? Will you remain at the mercy of evil, or will you follow God, who can carry you through today’s troubles and into a lasting peace?
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest… I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
– Jesus Christ