Why Suffering?

Why Suffering?

Q: If God is love and He loves us, as the Bible says, why is there so much suffering in the world?

A: God is not to blame for all the suffering in the world. He’s not some kind of monster that enjoys making people suffer. It’s not God who causes the pain, death, and heartache. The truth is, much of what we suffer is caused by people’s selfishness and destructive attitudes and actions.

Take wars, for example, which have caused untold suffering throughout history. The Bible says, “From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?” (James 4:1 KJV). People are to blame for the suffering caused by war, because of their own selfishness, greed, pride, and competitive spirit–the destruction of others for selfish gain.

Q: What about poverty? What about the millions who die of starvation and disease in some of the impoverished nations of the world? Surely they haven’t brought that upon themselves!

A: Believe it or not, man is largely responsible for poverty as well. Global warming is increasing, rainforests are disappearing, deserts are expanding, and seas are dying. These combined ills are having a disastrous effect on food supplies, especially in already impoverished regions, and all are largely the result of the haves relentlessly striving to have more at the expense of the have-nots. For example, indiscriminate logging for fast money in some developing countries is bringing about ecological disasters and population displacement.

In addition, civil conflicts, driven by political greed contribute to famine and poverty in many nations. Can God be blamed for this? Again it’s a case of people bringing suffering on others through selfishness, lack of love, and lack of foresight and concern for future generations.

Q: But the shortage of food is not caused solely by desert expansion, forest depletion, and war. There are often natural forces beyond man’s control that contribute to extreme poverty and starvation. Isn’t God to blame for that?

A: It’s true that some factors are beyond man’s control, but ironically, while millions are undernourished, in other parts of the world there are huge surpluses of food. No one needs to go hungry; God’s earth provides more than enough. But unfortunately, while many rich Western countries spend hundreds of millions of dollars on storing or destroying their surpluses, even paying farmers not to grow certain crops, the poor of the world starve.

Another example of manmade misery and suffering is the pitiful squalor of the poor in the huge cities of some developing countries. God never intended for people to live in crowded, filthy, dehumanizing slums. In most cases those people would have been better off if they had stayed out in the country where the air is clean and there is more food and fewer people–healthful country living as God intended.

In some countries, the poor crowd into the cities to escape civil war, guerrilla activity, or criminal activity in the countryside–more suffering brought on by others’ greed and oppression of their fellow man.

Others, unfortunately, are responsible for their own predicament. They see the material success of the middle class and rich in the cities and think that would make them happy. They are drawn to the cities, but often find their economic state worse than before. Modern cities and the suffering they bring are not God’s fault; they’re a manmade curse.

Also, most of the rich don’t share their wealth or lands as they should, and many don’t pay the poor fair wages for their labor or fair prices for their produce. If they did, there would certainly be enough to go around. The Bible repeatedly advises and even commands the rich to share with the poor (Deuteronomy 15:7-8; Psalm 41:1; Matthew 5:42). God doesn’t want the poor to suffer!

Science has also proven to be a two-edged sword. God has helped man learn more about the world in which we live, which has led to many beneficial discoveries, but much of this knowledge has also been misused, culminating in horrific weapons of war, polluting factories and refineries, cancer-promoting substances, etc. These death-dealing and destructive inventions bring on untold pain and suffering, but they are not God’s fault.

Q: Is man, then, solely responsible for all the pain in the world today?

A: No, a lot of it is the work of Satan, also known as the Devil–the powerful spirit being and archenemy of God, whose relentless goal is to make people suffer. In fact, one of the Devil’s main objectives is to turn man away from God by pinning the blame on God for his own dirty deeds!

Q: If God is loving and all-powerful, why doesn’t He stop the Devil and the people responsible from inflicting all this suffering? If God is not directly responsible, why does He allow it to go on?

A: The Bible speaks of a great war in the spirit realm between the forces of good and evil (Ephesians 6:12). God and His angelic forces do often stop the Devil from wreaking even more havoc and destruction, but in some cases God allows the Devil to perform his destructive work as a judgment on those who have rebelled against God or refused to follow His natural and spiritual laws.

But as far as God stopping people from perpetrating suffering and evil, if He were to do that, He would have to put an end to our free will and majesty of choice, whereby we can choose to do good or evil.

Q: Wouldn’t it have been better, then, if He had created us all to be good?

A: If God had wanted robots, yes, He could have made everybody do only what is right and good. But He purposely limited His own power by creating us with a free will so we could choose to both love Him and do what is right–just as parents want their children to love them of their own free will, not because they’re forced to. We were put here to make a choice between good and evil, between doing things God’s way or our own.

This is the main reason there is so much suffering, misery, pain, ill health, wars, economic troubles, and other woes in the world today–because instead of choosing to love and obey God, many people have decided to rebel against His loving rules, which He made for our health and happiness. Most people want to do things their own way and so must suffer the consequences of their own wrong choices. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12, NIV).

Q: But why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? No one is perfect, of course, but why doesn’t he reward those who genuinely try to do good and make right, loving choices by sparing them from suffering?

A: He does, for the most part. We’re all acutely aware when things go wrong, but we often don’t see or appreciate what could have gone wrong but didn’t because of God’s loving intervention on our behalf.

Nevertheless, good people do sometimes go through difficult times. That’s when it’s important to remember–and this can be difficult to grasp–there are benefits from suffering. Difficult times shape our character and teach us important lessons. Often more is learned from failure than from success. Also, suffering often brings out the best in those who choose not to become embittered or hardened, and engenders love, tenderness, goodness, and concern for others. The Bible says, “We comfort others with the comfort that we ourselves are comforted with [by] God” (2 Corinthians 1:4). Often those who turn to God for comfort and strength in their suffering later want to point others to the One who can also ease their sufferings and help them solve their problems–God and His love, personified in Jesus.

And the best news is that one day soon, God’s Word promises, all suffering will come to an end for those who love God. Jesus is going to return to rescue His own from all suffering and whisk them off to Heaven, where God will wipe away every tear from our eyes and there will be no more death, sorrow, crying, or pain, for all these things will be passed away (Revelation 21:4).

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23 Comments

  1. Carmen Robinson
    July 29, 2014, 11:17 pm   /  Reply

    Amen,lord redirect my mind,give me the energy to wake up every day and do your will,in Jesus name…..

  2. victoria
    August 20, 2014, 7:37 pm   /  Reply

    I have been suffering for near 25 yesrs. I love my lord with all of my heart. Please I pray for healing. I try every day. it’s getting so hard to deal with this pain more and more issues and diseases keep coming on I try my best I lost my job I have a very selfish husband.my daughters broke my heart she mistreats me and I have another one coming to live here his daughter who is even worse.I need rescued by Jesus I need healing in Jesus precious name I pray and believe AMEN
    Victoria dodd- howard

    • Jackie
      August 18, 2016, 9:56 am   /  Reply

      Victoria keep leaning on God’s word, he will c u through I know cause he done it for me. My life once was a reck I just wanted too give up n things turned around for me. His mercy is real

      • William
        September 22, 2016, 3:13 am   / 

        That is very encouraging thank you for that

    • CHARLY
      October 29, 2016, 6:34 pm   /  Reply

      never let go of your faith in Him,……He will one day show up

    • Evelyn
      April 21, 2017, 2:51 am   /  Reply

      I have been suffering, hopelessly without a real home, lost of my mother & all of my siblings. The pain I feel has gotten to the core of my faith & it has become such a agonizing torn over my entire being.

  3. BeingAttackedBySatan
    August 24, 2014, 10:34 am   /  Reply

    I’m desperately seeking help I feel Disgusting these days because I can feel the severely overwhelming spiritual battle being waged deep within its reached beyond my wife into my siblings and even friends are becoming hateful attackers I’m trying to be the good sou my abba father GOD wills me I just can’t remember happiness or joy because of the actions of Satan and his tools he manifests himself through I’ve already experienced death threats and live in constant anxiety…God forgive me of all iniquity I’ve committed against your people I ask for your love embrace look upon me with mercy and save my soul be my king and please protect what you built in my life please but also help me become that calm loving respectful man I can remember

  4. Pastor Dan
    October 28, 2014, 8:59 pm   /  Reply

    for those of you who was going through various trials and tribulation,my prayer for you is to press God will work all things out for the good. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, for I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and to give you a hope and the future.we also must remember proverbs 3:5-6,trust in the Lord with all your heart lean not to your own understanding all your ways acknowledge Him,and he will direct your paths. He loves us unconditionally and wants no one to be lost or to perish.my prayers are with you as I pray yours with me.

    • January 8, 2015, 11:10 pm   /  Reply

      Victoria, I know exactly how you feel. I believe that if you continue to pray.. and pray for a way out of the stressful situations that plague you.. God will answer! Also, understanding that you may need to recognize all that troubles you.. and make the necessary changes you need for yourself! Every issue is a lesson from God! At times, we, as people have and need to make difficult choices in our lives to save ourselves.. sometimes from our own family and friends! Think about yourself and what you need for you! Then make it happen! God Bless you.. Stay Strong.

      • June 24, 2015, 7:23 pm   / 

        God’s Word says “if you ask anything in my Name, I will do it”. You have to believe God will do it though. “Without faith it is impossible to please God”. I’m not perfect but I’ve learned to thank God for whatever I’m praying for WHEN I prayed, NOT waiting until i receive it. And to be patient for that answer, sometimes the answer is “no”. God knows best & He knows way way more than I do.
        I praise God everyday because I want to, not because I want Him to do something for me. He’s already done everything for me when He took my punishment on the Cross. Praise God! He is so AWESOME!!!

  5. missy
    January 26, 2015, 9:30 pm   /  Reply

    Despite the fact that there are many rich people out there who don’t give to the poor or they only give to the poor for the reason to be appreciated, for example give money to housekeeping staff so that housekeeping staff to smile to them and being nice. I believe poor people need to do something to improve their way of living instead of just blaming rich people. In Indonesia, poor people knowing they’re poor but still keep having many children although they know children cost money. They consider themselves poor but still able to buy cigarettes, firecracker to make noise, build their own tent for business in front of other shops, churches, etc which include stealing other’s electricity supply without paying anything which is not fair to the one that actually paying for rent, buy marker to make grafitti on peoples houses and public places. I found poor people just not like in the bible which is always good people, there are many evil poor people and it’s not because of the rich made them so. i’m not saying rich people are good but i found poor people often being seen as victim and rich people always being seen as bad.

  6. February 16, 2015, 6:59 am   /  Reply

    this bible study programme and witness everything is very useful to me and my family.

  7. June 24, 2015, 7:14 pm   /  Reply

    I read alot of your questions & answers today. Your right about God not causing bad things to happen, but satan does. People don’t want to acknowledge a need for God until their in trouble, then 1st thing out of their mouth is “oh my God” or “God help me”.
    I’m a born again, spirit filled Christian woman. I got saved when i was 14 years old. I was the only Christian in my family for years. Now my brother & sister is saved. My parents were saved because i led them to the Lord. They are in Heaven.
    I slip up alot but I’m quick to repent & confess my sin to God. I know I’m going to Heaven when I pass away. I think I’ll be here when Jesus steps out on that cloud to get His children.
    I put your app on my phone & I read devotions 2x a day. Thanks for your Word of God & encouragement. It has helped me tremendously.
    Kitty

  8. October 13, 2015, 5:38 am   /  Reply

    Praise the Lord for leading me to this Christian website!! I am a retired nurse w 7 children..5 grandchildren…God has truly blessed me with a fantastic family tolove who loves me just as much back. I feel I am the richest woman in the world as my treasures will be w me in heaven& w Jesus for all eternity. I feel like our time here on earth is so short.
    That despite chronic pain & several chronic debilitating diseases…recently have just had total hip surgery & am in rehab nursing facility to recover. I am DETERMINED to hold steadfastly to my deep faith in Our Creator’s Holy Spirit to lead & guide me to do His Will & fufill the best I can His purpose for my life. I know He has saved my life many times for a divine plan for my future. I pray for wisdom in my prayers daily for you who read this..my family….friends…caregivers I have learned to trust. Mostly though I put my trust in Jesus, He alone is worthy. I have a great need for a new home without so many stairs so I can keep my family together & teach my kids & their own kids How much Our Lord loves us all. Blessings to all. We must pray for each other.Ask & believe to receive! Tawny

  9. Tara
    October 16, 2015, 9:47 am   /  Reply

    My life is so out of control right now. The devil is coming at me and hard too. When I was 16 years of age I met a 27 year old man who told me he loved me and I believed. Next thing I knew I was strung out on heroin. When I was 24 years of age I met a church going man who helped and believed in me. So I made the choice to get clean. I was clean from 24 years old till 31 yeats of age before I relapsed. Im now 33 years old and am really struggling to get back on the right track. I feel like GOD had forsaken me, like he gave up on me and stopped fighting for me for my life. But I know its me who gave up, im the one who stopped fighting for my life. I dont understand what happened to that strong women I was when I got clean so long ago, how did I loose my strength to fight and how do I get it back? Jesus help me please

  10. October 16, 2015, 9:52 am   /  Reply

    I know I can do this because I have done it before. Just dont know how to get that strong will that I once had back. How was I able to just wake up one day and say im done and get myself to detox and be strong enough to live a real life once I walked out of there? How do I get that back? Dear GOD please help me to get my strength and my life back. Please give me the courge to get off the drugs snd stsy strong enough to stay clean and sober so I can help others. I need you Lord my GOD. Jesus I need you in my life

    • gary robinson
      January 18, 2016, 5:36 am   /  Reply

      Tara, I’ve been where you are at. I was to the point of suicide when I decided to go for treatment. I got clean but was still miserable with anxiety after 3 months clean. I finally got on my knees beside my bed and gave myself to Jesus. I went back to the first memory I could remember and sent forward thru my life remembering every single thing I had did wrong asked forgiveness for every sin. Then did the same thing this time remembering every time I was hurt by someone. I asked God to forgive them and to forgive me for holding on to those hurts. It took alot of tears and screaming for about 2 hours. Afterwards I got up to take a walk and realized the anxiety and mental pain was gone and a peace filled me which is hard to explain. I shared my experience many times in 12 step meetings since then and always look to do good for others. That was a year and half ago. Satan still puts bad thoughts in my head and i tell him those thoughts have no power over me. Get behind me in Jesus name. I put on the armor of God everyday. It’s in the Bible. It helps give me strength. But not being perfect I just had a terrible battle with alcohol for several months but happy to say I’m over it but I have been on suboxin for a year from my last addictions episode and look forward to getting off it. I think it has helped me but seems like another addiction. Drugs and alcohol are not the problem it is something else in our life that makes us reach for a crutch. I’m praying for you Tara. I lost two brothers and many friends to addiction. I pray you find the answer thru Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

  11. Roy
    November 30, 2015, 8:47 pm   /  Reply

    Need to read

  12. July 25, 2016, 2:45 am   /  Reply

    Your testimonies are so real. I know He will show you how to follow Him again. My life seemed over. I cried on the floor to Him.He heard.I am able to go on. I have purpose

  13. shawna
    December 8, 2016, 4:29 pm   /  Reply

    Dear God,
    I know you can see how I am being treated here I only pray that I can get my life back together stop being harassed and threatendI deserve better Please lord I don’t want to be living life like this with living in an unsafe psycho path I pray to not be afraid anymore of anyone I pray to continue my education with school I hope and pray that I haven’t lost my doctors, my meds my life my school I can’t take it living scared anymore

  14. Shawna Bohne
    December 28, 2016, 4:06 pm   /  Reply

    Dear God,
    I am still suffering with Larry Gaines it’s getting so bad he is acting so rude, angry, threats, harassments, abuse I live in fear I don’t know what to say I’m so afraid GOD [ am begging of you to provide me with strengths and courage. I have to remain strong and move on with my life I feel like I am loosing everything because he is so controlling and very dominate that I am praying from the very bottom of my heart for Larry Gaines, his family, friends anyone he is associated with to please leave me alone and please GOD help me to not be afraid of him or anyone anymore.
    I am begging you for a miracle ASAP I am so scared I don’t like this feeling please get him and everything or anyone who is associated with Larry Gaines out of my life please GOD I am praying for your help immediately thank you GOD for everything I love you so very much and please dear Lord forgive me for my past sins, the lies that I am and have told and the people I have hurt I’m am so truly sorry please GOD please send me a miracle so I know I am safe and sound from him and everyone
    Thank you GOD for everything I love you God Bless you and my self
    AMEN

  15. shelley
    March 14, 2017, 1:20 pm   /  Reply

    Two years ago my son was taken from my custody under false allegations. I have never suffered liked I did during this time. I have been through a lot of really hard times in my life, but none compared to the constant pain of losing my only son. During this time I found GOD, and with Lords strength I have been able, after a lot of hard work to regain custody of my son back (none of the allegations could be proven, but it still took two years for the process of having him returned to me). I honestly feel that without suffering it is difficult to truly find God, and accept his will. I believe that God allows suffering in certain situations to bring you to him, I have experienced many horrible things in life (being imprisioned by a man for several years in the woods, where he abused me in every possible way, growing up in a very troubled household,ect), yet it took this last issue to finally bring me to God, and become born again. I still have difficult times, but I know that they will pass, and God is not responsible for the bad on this earth. Man asked for free will, and God allowed us to have it. The world is the way it is because of the way we have dealt with our free will. God contines to Bless us all, and through Jesus Christ we all have the ability to have the relationship with God and Christ if we choose to do so as he wants from us. I will pray for you all, and please do the same for me. God Bless

  16. Ricardo
    April 14, 2017, 4:48 am   /  Reply

    I want to thank God for always assuring me that by send his only son, my Lord and savior for giving his life ,so that I may have life everlasting in Jesus name amen .

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