Why Does A Loving God Allow Suffering | Does God Cause Suffering - EveryGospel

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Why Does A Loving God Allow Suffering | Does God Cause Suffering

Why Does A Loving God Allow Suffering

Why Does A Loving God Allow Suffering


I must have been around 10 or 12 years old when I started praying about a particular situation in my family that drastically needed divine intervention, it's roughly 10 years (plus) later and I'm still sending up the same prayer request. I've never really questioned myself why does a loving God allow suffering if He is good or not because there have been times over the years in the midst of all the issues arising from this painful situation that I wondered why he didn't just put an end to it all.

Time and time again, we are faced with what is best described as calamities, problems that may leave us struggling to believe in God's goodness and sometimes leading us to question his very existence. Human nature is such that in the event of bad occurrences we look for what to blame; we want to be able to assign answers to “why”, “how” and “whose fault is it”. It is almost impossible for the average mind to move past grief without a character to blame misfortune on.

When natural disasters and terrorism rear their heads, we're quick to ask the questions of “how couldn't we see this coming?”. We blame the authorities in charge of weather forecasting and the like and crucify the armed forces of the nation. In times of sickness, we look too bad genes and/or unhealthy lifestyle habits as the culprits of choice, or better still, environmental pollution and degradation. Yet above all this is the pointing of fingers and accusations to a God who presides over mankind and lets such I'll come to pass.

So, we find ourselves asking “why does God allow suffering?”, like really! “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” and the answers most times do not seem forthcoming. If you're reading this, you're either doing a study, stumbled upon this or are going through a lot and sought this out (and I empathize with you), either way, you're the reason why we put together “Why Does A Loving God Allow Suffering” piece. I can only pray that your questions are answered and your faith strengthened.

In the face of suffering, it's hard for most persons to come to terms with how the love of God factors into their situation, especially in the light of unanswered prayers which seem to abound in these situations. Worse still, when such prayers have gone unanswered for a really long period of time. I mean, it's easy to hold on and repeat Habakkuk 2:3 to yourself when it's only a few days, weeks or months old, but when the years start rolling in it becomes a battle for faith and a search for an answer to “why does God allow suffering?”.

In answering the question of “why does a loving God allow suffering” and the almost more frequent question of “why does God allow sickness”, we are led to ponder on the sovereignty and goodness of God and this leads ultimately to two trains of thought; (1)“If he is truly sovereign then nothing can happen outside of him and if he is truly good then he can do no evil”, (2) “If he is truly sovereignly good and incapable of evil doesn't the occurrence of evil dispute his sovereignty and prove that he is rather quiet not sovereign or not in existence at all?”.

Look:

To deal with this we must first find answers to the following questions;

  1. Does God exist?
  2. If God exists, is He sovereign?
  3. Is God capable of evil and/or wrong?

Note: All scripture referenced forthwith shall be from the New International Version (NIV) Bible except otherwise stated - But you can click on the Bible verses listed to see other Bible Translations

1. Does God Exist?:


Hebrews 11:6
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Yes, God does exist; created by none and creator of all. To doubt the existence of God is like trying to unravel the very fabric of the universe. To say there is no God is basically implying that all life was a mistake, a mere byproduct of a big bang and mutations of the resultant organisms brought about by the bang (evolution). Crazy right?

We know clearly from scripture, however, and by a witnessing in our spirits that all creation was brought about by God (see the book of Genesis, chapters 1 & 2). Thus, we can confidently stand and say by virtue of our faith and the assurance of his word that God exists and we are not mere happenstance.

Looking at nature and even the intricacies of the design as it were of human beings, it takes a very strong dose of unbelief to not marvel at the wonders of the one who brought it all to be. David put it quite clearly in the first verse of Psalm 91 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” All of life points to God's existence.

2. If God Exists, Is He Sovereign?  

To be sovereign is to have absolute, supreme, independent power and authority. In other words, being subject to none and reigning over all. I'm sure you can see now why the question of God's sovereignty is important in these issues of “Why does a loving God allow suffering? ” and “why does God allow sickness?”.

“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”

“9 Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. 10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ 11 From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.”.


God is subject to no force or power or principality, hence the attribution of omnipotence to him. There is nothing that happens outside of him or apart from him and there is nothing that is not subject to him. 

The best argument for God's sovereignty can be made using the book of (Job, chapters 1, 2, & 38-41). Imagine how scary it would be if God wasn't sovereign! What then would be the hope of any form of deliverance if his might fluctuated depending on the situation!!! Thank goodness the Bible is overwhelmingly clear on the fact that God governs the universe from the strands of hair on our head to the life and death of sparrows (Matthew 10:29) and cataclysmic natural disasters (as we see them).

Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it?

The most important part in understanding God's sovereignty is knowing that there is no situation outside His control; regardless of what it is, there is a purpose to it and nothing can occur except he permits it to. He is always totally in control and all that happens is very purposeful and intentional.


Why Does A Loving God Allow Suffering


3. Is God Capable Of Evil and/Or Wrong

In answering this, we will follow two trains of thought based on exactly what evil is and after that, the basis of defining a thing as evil.

When we talk of evil, we are most often than not referring to the act of being morally bad. The bible doesn't lie when it calls God good and holy, that which is holy is incapable of evil and that which is good cannot be capable of bad. How then can Isaiah 45:7, Amos 3:6 or Lamentations 3:38 be explained? 

The earlier bible version (KJV) had interpreted the Hebrew word “râ‛âh” in those verses as “evil” and whilst this was not wrong, it did not clarify that the word “râ‛âh” was used to connote both moral evil and disaster/calamity, depending on the context. Where the word “râ‛âh” was used in the verses, it meant disaster and not a moral evil.

Isaiah 45:7 “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.”, Amos 3:6 “When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble? When disaster comes to a city, has not the Lord caused it?” and Lamentations 3:38 “Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?” Are all verses using comparison and I think it's quite obvious that moral evil is not the opposite of prosperity or peace or good things.

Moreover, what basically leads us to question God's goodness and ask “why does God allow suffering”, is our generalization of good and bad into two categories where anything unpleasant to us is bad and all that we find pleasant is good. However, the ways of God are not our ways, what we classify as bad for us is not necessarily the same as what God sees as bad for us and that which we find pleasant he alone can see what end it leads us to.

“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. 13 Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief.”

Furthermore, when we look at Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” and Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”, 

We are reminded that God uses every occurrence in our lives to shape and build us into that which he desires for us and that his plans for us are always good.

Ultimately, we must come to the understanding that all that God does is good and with meaning, to lead to an expected end for our good and to his glory. Only then can the answers to “why does a loving God allow suffering” and “why does God allow sickness” become not just clear, but acceptable to us.

Check Out This Vidoe:




  • Why Does A Loving God Allow Suffering


We have established the fact that God exists, He is sovereign and incapable of evil, it is time for us to see just how this answers the question of “why does a loving God allow suffering”.

In the book “The Problem of Pain” by C. S. Lewis, he put it quite eloquently and understandably: “On the one hand, if God is wiser than we, his judgment must differ from ours on many things, and not least on good and evil. What seems to us good may therefore not be good in his eyes, and what seems to us evil may not be evil.”

It's also important to note that whatsoever affliction comes our way is not greater than or above God and he will never let us be afflicted beyond what we can handle and he will always strengthen us and give us grace. We have this assurance clearly spelled out in 1 Corinthians 10:13 “...And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”.

In the light of suffering, God's sovereignty is made manifest in ways that would not have been felt in the midst of plenty. When we go through such times, we are brought to the reality of his being the “I Am” and learn surrender in its greatest forms. 

In our weakness we are made to rely on his strength, in our pain we are brought to focus on his joy, in our sorrow, we come to experience his comfort. It is in the midst of nothing most times that we come to see God clearly as our everything.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Now:

We may find our prayers being answered and our sufferings being dissolved but there is also the possibility that we may be called to a deeper and more rewarding journey of faith through our suffering. This is a road we seldom take willingly and there is no arguing that the road is hard, but God is always there to walk beside us, carry us and remind us that in all our circumstances he is working.

Like renowned evangelist and bible scholar/teacher, John Piper will always profess, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him”; suffering has a way of taking us back to the cross and a realization of these words.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” covers both the experiences we term good and bad. 

In ALL things, God works for our good. So when suffering, sickness and unanswered prayers abound, we know that our God remains good and is a loving father that will never forsake us but works ultimately for our good.

True, it can be hard to think of all these in the midst of all the pain. In the words of Marilyn Johnson, “When it does seem as if God is withholding (insert solution to current challenge here) from us, it is not because he is cruel. 

Our understanding is limited, and we will never fully see things from his perspective. We may have trouble comprehending how God can use suffering for good, but we also do not have the wisdom or authority to say it cannot be true.”

Albeit this, in the midst of all the world's suffering, we are not as those who have no hope. Even as we find peace in our tribulations and strength to carry on, we maintain a hope for deliverance whether it be via an end to our challenge in this world or a passage from this world into eternity with the Father. 

It is not sinning to desire or keep praying for a turnaround, even Christ knowing the pain that was set before him sought the Father to provide a way out. However, we must like Christ, be willing to accept the Father's will if it is his will for the cup to not Passover us.


Why Does A Loving God Allow Suffering


You Can Check This Out: Does God Cause Suffering


In Conclusion, through all our suffering and hopes of redemption, we must do well to not neglect all the other things God is doing in light of the situation and keep in mind the following verses:

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”


I pray we find the grace and strength to be steadfast through suffering, even as we look to the hope of a release from it and that we see God truly in all his sovereignty and goodness in whatever state we might be.

Dear reader, I'm super glad you got to the end of this piece on “Why Does A Loving God Allow Suffering” and I do hope you were not confused or lost at any point through this discourse. This was a tad long so Thank you! for your time and patience. 

I believe the questions of “why does God allow suffering” and “why does God allow sickness” have been answered as well as the original question of the piece's topic. Feel free to drop your questions in both the comment sections and via my personal contact if you want a more in-depth or personal explanation, everygospel.com is here to serve till your optimum satisfaction and to God's glory.

So, here's to all our sufferings, trials and tribulations; may they work our faith to perfect maturity and drive us towards a deeper satisfaction in God. Cheers.

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