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QUESTION: Why is there so much suffering in the world?

 

ANSWER:  The short answer is one word: sin.  It is sin that brought separation from God and a slow descent into the depths of depravity and hopelessness.  God sent His Son Jesus to die so that we might have hope and life – hope in the only begotten Son of God and everlasting life in the world to come.

 

But now that we are here…  Christian, why does God allow us to suffer too?  I mean, we are His children, right?  Oh yes.  And the Christian must suffer because “rain falls on both the just and the unjust.”  If bad things stopped happening to God’s people, then ‘getting religion’ and going to church would soon be a matter of practical living and not faith: in other words, people would get religion to avoid problems!  But God is not a genie in a bottle to be rubbed when we have a problem.  And your problem is not the minimal suffering to be found in this world (Romans 8:18).  Your problem (and mine) is that we are dirty rotten sinners that do not deserve the mercy and grace that the one and only God of Heaven offers to us in spite of ourselves.

 

God wants everyone who comes to Him to come to Him by faith.  So God’s children suffer along with the rest of the world so that the rest of the world has the same opportunity to be saved by grace through faith.  Since Bible times preachers have declared “the ground is level at the foot of the cross.”  That is fair for those who are coming and that is fair for those who are there.  Without faith it is impossible to please God.

 

The Bible says that “all things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28).  That means even the suffering!  1 Peter 2:21 says, “for even hereunto were ye called…”  Christian, whether you know it or not, you were called to suffer.  Now I could explain how God gets the glory when you patiently endure the trials and tests of affliction and leave it at that, but I think there’s more to it.  So how does suffering work good?

 

Did you ever stop to think that it is only when we are helpless that we are totally dependent on God?  Time and again circumstances swell around us to such a degree that we are absolutely forced to trust God.  And He allows that suffering on purpose!  He wants the suffering to crowd us to Him.  We know how God wants us to handle death and bad news from the doctor.  But did you know that a difficult boss or teacher, lost mail, or getting stuck in traffic at a railroad crossing are also circumstances allowed by God to be received with a humble spirit?

 

We cannot serve God and the idol of a “perfect life” (only being happy when things go our way).  Just as God allowed Jesus to suffer at the hands of unfair and cruel men, we are going to suffer.  “Think it not strange” (1 Peter 4:12).  Suffering is a part of Christianity. But the grace promised in James 4:6, comes to those who humbly receive the wrong.  Faith knows God is in control and is ‘handling it.’

If there’s anything in life that will stand at the judgment seat of Christ, it will be the choices of submission we made in seasons of trial.

Don’t try to run away from problems.  To submit to difficulty is to submit to God.  When we receive our circumstances by faith, grace is just around the corner.  God is waiting, willing and able to pour favor into our lives if we submit to Him. 


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