If God is love, why is there so much suffering in the world? This question has been asked countless times by individuals belonging to different codes of faith and systems of belief.
It is hard for the human mind to grasp how a loving God could permit the presence of such pain, misery and calamity in the lives of the helpless and the innocent. How could an all-knowing, all-powerful God allow bad things to happen? For a lot of people this concept is too hard to grapple with; subsequently, they often turn their back on God for a time or for the remainder of their lives. The fact is God did not create suffering and selfishness; He created love.
In the Beginning
According to the Genesis record, God made everything good. There was no evil, no pain, no hurt, and no death. It was not until Adam and Eve sinned in Genesis 3 that evil was manifested upon the Earth. This dichotomy (and clash) between good and evil will remain until Christ’s return: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (v. 15).
Additionally, if you start with reading the first chapter of Genesis up to the flood in chapter 6 you will see that evil in any form does not please or appease God.
In Matthew 13:24-30 we come across the parable of the sower:
The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’
God had created a good field with good seeds. With Adam and Eve spiritually asleep, Satan was able to sow bad seeds in the field. The truth is, the enemy is doing all in his power to conceal God’s love and perfect character from the world. He lies and says that God does not love nor does He care about you. Your adversary the devil is the cause of many calamities and the root of wicked acts on this Earth.
Suffering and Sufferance
Suffering comes in many forms and we can all agree that not one of us is immune from it. It can find its origination on Earth from that first sin in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve’s choice brought problems upon themselves and all of their descendents. When Adam sinned, his seat as steward of the earth (found in Genesis 1:28 and 2:15) was usurped by Satan who, according to Isaiah 14:12-14, sought to exalt himself as God.
Frequently, we say or hear that God does not give us anything we cannot handle. Here, 1 Corinthians 10:13 is often taken out of context—where God promises that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle and that He will provide a way of escape with that temptation.
The truth is, things that happen to us are often things we are incapable of dealing with in and of ourselves, but only through the power of Christ. This is the only reasonable explanation as to how millions of Christians worldwide have willingly suffered the worst of deaths for their faith.
The Original Plan
Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that every reaction has an equal and opposite reaction; so it is with us as humans. God created everything to work together. Even if you are an atheist who believes only in science it is impossible to deny the fact that each life form affects another.
We as humans were not meant to live unto ourselves, to think and act upon our own desires. Unfortunately when sin entered the world, selfish impulses and sinful desires became the norm.
Often as humans we will blame God for the suffering in this world; however, everything bad is a result of poor choices: sin. Further, James 1:17 tells us that everything good comes from God who does not change.
As a household of faith, we should be uniting together and supporting one another as did the earlier churches. When we are truly united, as in the day of Pentecost (see Acts 2), then God will be able to fully work through us so that our light will shine so brightly that people will see our works and glorify Him (Matthew 5:16).
God’s character is written in stone in the 10 Commandments, which are found in Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5 and reiterated throughout the Old and New Testaments. The first 4 commandments focus on honouring and loving God while the last 6 commands pertain to loving your neighbour. Christ delves deeper into what this entails—I encourage you to prayerfully read the four gospels and the Epistles of John for better insight.
When suffering occurs, it is because God’s commandments of love have been broken; His image is torn down by humanity. When we choose to abandon the law of God—deny His power, guidance and Truth—and replace it with worldly wisdom, anything goes and suffering becomes the norm.
The Good News
God, warning them of the consequences in advance, never wanted Adam and Eve to sin. Sin resulted in a cavernous divide between divinity and humanity that could only be repaired through the blood of sacrifice: a way of escape that was established for anyone who wanted it through Jesus Christ.
In Revelation 21:3–5 we are told of a new heaven and earth, one where God promises to restore the Earth and the human family to His original ideal in which there will be no more death, sorrow, crying, or pain, and that all things will be new.
Regardless of what you go through, witness or hear, find comfort as believers in God’s enduring love and the promise laid out in Romans 8:28 that everything will work together for your good. God can transform a bad thing by bringing healing and new life.