Where is God in suffering?

Asked by ELAINE

How can you seriously say all those that believe in Jesus/Christianity find peace…  so what is the answer for all those that are suffering on a daily basis.. not here in this comfy western country of ours but to those children in Africa being tortured and raped?? or those in eastern Europe being sold for slavery??? where is God ??? are they not children of god… or is it in mysterious ways..how can anyones God/religion allow a 6mth old to be raped or children to starve to death… love???


This is an important question that has been touched on in other places on the web site.
I think a key part of the Bible to bear in mind is what Jesus says in John 16:33:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Jesus readily admits that there is suffering in the world.  He even promises that his disciples will experience it!
Have you ever wondered why suffering bothers us?  It’s because the world we see is not the perfect one which God created.  We long to experience the world as we were meant to: free from pain and suffering.  That’s why we get so upset and frustrated by things like slavery and starvation.

Nobody knows the pain of this world better than Jesus.  He was brutally murdered on a bloody cross.  The great irony is that through his death, he wins a victory over death and suffering.  He overcomes the world.  Your question of how God can ‘allow’ suffering is a good one.  The answer is that he has acted, in the death and resurrection of Jesus, to overcome it.  Not instantly, but decisively and according to His patient timing. (2 Pet 3:9)

When the time is right, Jesus will return to judge the world, bringing perfect justice for both the perpetrators of evil and their victims. (2 Tim 4:1)  He can tell his followers to take heart because they know that justice will be done in the end, and their suffering will be relieved in peaceful bliss.

Far from being “Pie-in-the-sky-when-you-die” type hope, this assurance gives real strength for daily living. (1 Pet 1:1-9)  It’s a hope which leads to peace for the believer.  If Christians seem troubled by their hardships, whether violent persecution or the more insidious materialism of the west, it’s because we sometimes forget the glory of the hope we have.

If this all sounds fine in theory but impossible in practice, consider the alternatives.  If the wicked will never be punished, then their tyranny is intolerable.  Why bear up under the weight of your pain?  There’s no hope for the future, so why not just give in or rebel in futile violence?  Neither path leads to peace.  We may question if God brings peace, but there certainly is no peace without him.

In our comfy western society, christians have a responsibility to help those being oppressed. (James 1:27) We have the power to act to alleviate physical suffering by giving money to aid organisations.  We also have the capacity to send missionaries to share the Gospel, the message of peace and hope and justice to those who most long for them.

Finally, though we may live in the west,  no one is immune from pain and hardship at some level.  If you’ve been prompted to think about this because of the events of you own life, I hope you too find the peace that Christians do seriously have in Jesus.

Answers are kindly provided by our friends at Christianity.net.au

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