Why does God allow us to experience pain and suffering?
We’ve been trying for a child for months, now we are pregnant and we have
told we will probably miscarry. Why would God let this happen? Isn’t it
easier not to believe in the existence of God than to believe he would
visit such great pain and grief on those who love him? That he would ignore
and refuse to answer all the prayers?
Can I first say how sorry I am to here about your situation. I cannot imagine what you and your partner are going through.
Not believing in God may seem like an “easier” choice, but in reality it is a much more disturbing and unsatisfying option. If there is no God, then all there is to life is nature. There would be no use in complaining about how life
, this is just the way things
. In such a view of the world, getting upset about the death or suffering of a loved one would make as much sense as getting angry at the setting of the sun, or getting upset at the colour of the sky. Death and suffering would merely be a part of the way things are. But all our experience of life cries out against this cold, sterile view of the world - people have more significance than simply being matter in motion; death and suffering should not just be
. A view of the world without God leads us to a very bleak view of life, a view that is at odds with what we know to be true in our hearts.
I also think you have to be cautious about trying to deduce the mind, character or existence of God from our experience of life’s tragedies and triumphs. It is more helpful to work outward from what has been revealed about God, and then from that build a framework for understanding the rest of life.
The clearest place where we can see God is in Jesus. When we look at the life of Jesus and the teachings of the Bible we see…
1. God loves us deeply and passionately. He is willing to go to extraordinary lengths to care for us (John 3:16).
2. God understands suffering, he knows what we have to go through (Hebrews 4:15).
3. God hates evil, suffering and death and his desire is to end them.
4. It is through Jesus that God is dealing with suffering (1 Corinthians 15:21-26).
5. Our experience of suffering, death and evil will finally be removed when Jesus returns (Revelation 21:1-4).
6. God is able to redeem good out of the suffering we experience (Romans 8:28-30).
I remember being told an illustration of a man who lived during WWII and whose good friend went to work as undercover agent against the Germans. At various times during the war the man would see his friend sitting with German officials over a friendly cup of coffee, he would hear stories that his friend was assisting the Germans in their search for the French Resistance. How was he to understand this?
One day the man’s friend leaves a message for him, asking him to do something that doesn’t seem to make much sense and could be quite dangerous. What should he do?
He casts his mind back to before the war and remembers his friend was a man of great integrity, a man deeply passionate about justice and peace, a man who is a patriot. He therefore bases his decision on the man that he knows, rather than the experiences of him that he doesn’t understand.
Linda, I cannot tell you why you are going through what you are dealing with now. I cannot tell you exactly how this all fits in with God’s plans for you and the world. But I can tell you that I know that Jesus cares deeply for you and your unborn baby, that you can trust him to be with you through the darkest hours of this life, and that if you follow him he will ultimately deliver you through all evil, suffering and death.
If you want to think about the issue of suffering a bit more - there are some other questions about suffering that have been answered on this site.
Answers are kindly provided by our friends at Christianity.net.au