As a chaplain one of the most common questions that I get is why would a loving God allow so much suffering in the world. People want to know why bad things happen to good people. When I get asked that, I know the real question is, “Why am I hurting so bad and why doesn’t God stop it.” I can’t begin to answer the question on an individual basis: “Why does any certain person suffer or go through hard times.” However, I can give some insights from the Bible about suffering in general.
First, it was not God’s intention that we have suffering. Genesis 2:31 says that when God had finished creation and saw all that He had made it was very good. Everything was as it should have been. No sickness, no suffering and no death. That sounds pretty appealing, doesn’t it? The problems all started when Adam and Eve chose to eat from a tree called the tree of knowledge of good and evil. When God placed them in the Garden of Eden He told them they could eat from any plant or tree they wanted but that they should not eat from this particular tree. When they disobeyed God and ate the fruit, they brought sin, suffering and death into the world.
God created us to have a true and meaningful love relationship with us. To have that true relationship we had to have the opportunity to choose to love Him back or not. If we do not have the choice, we are simply robot-like beings who show false and forced affection. That is not real love. God knew that, even with the possibility of pain, suffering and death in the world, it was better for us to have a choice to love Him than to be forced to.
The great news is that just like God had no intention for us to live in suffering, He has no intention of leaving it this way. In fact, He has already put the solution in place. You see, when God decided that it was better to have a real relationship with you and me rather than a fake or forced one and planted the tree of knowledge, He also knew that choice would ultimately cost His own Son His life. When sin entered the world death also entered the world. Romans 6:23 says that what we deserve for the bad things we have done is death. God still wants to have that true, loving relationship with Him but in order for that to happen someone has to pay for the sins that continue to bring suffering into the world. That is where Jesus comes in. Because Jesus had never sinned, when He died on the cross as a perfect sacrifice He willingly paid the penalty for all sins in the world. That includes yours and mine.
So what does all of this mean for you right now? First, God understands where you are! You may be going through a really tough time. You know people who are sick. You know people who have died. It is very hard to watch. God knows how you feel. He watched from Heaven as His Son died to pay the penalty for sins He never committed. He gets it!
Second, you can have hope. I shared earlier that Romans 6:23 says that what we deserve for what we have done is death. The great news is that the verse does not stop there. The second half of the verse says, “but, the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The Bible says that if you ask God for forgiveness for the things you have done wrong He will forgive you! You can believe that Jesus died on the cross and then rose from the grave to pay for your sins. You can dedicate your life to living for Him. In the meantime, if you do these things you can know for sure that when your physical life is over, you will live forever with God in Heaven. This does not mean that all of the sorrows of this world will automatically go away. It does mean that you don’t have to do it alone!
If you have more questions about this, your chaplain would love to talk to you about it. Reach out to him or her through the connect button on this app.
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”.