Why does God allow so much Suffering – Part 1
If God is a God of love, why is there so much suffering in this world? This question is asked so often. I have been meditating on this for several years. What follows is my understanding of it.
God is love. Love desires people to bestow one’s love upon. God therefore created people to pour out His love on them.
Love, however, has engraved in it the deep desire to be loved back. God’s desire, therefore, is to live in a loving relationship with people. God could have created mankind to love Him automatically, like a programmed robot. But without choice love is not really love.
Therefore, God created man with a free will. God gave man the ability to choose to love and obey Him or to choose not to love Him and to rebel against Him.
Unfortunately, man chose not to love God and to rebel against God. The opposite of love is selfishness and pride, which effectively is the root of all sin. Sin, therefore, is mankind’s choice to be selfish and to gratify their own sensual desires at the expense of hurting God and the people around them.
Mankind’s choice to live a selfish and sinful life is one of the direct causes of suffering in this world.
Mankind’s selfish lifestyle hurts and inflicts heartache and pain on God, on the surrounding people and even on people themselves. These loveless acts of mankind call out to God for justice and punishment of those who commit these loveless acts. Just as the blood of Abel cried out to God so all the hurts, tears and pain that man afflicts on His fellowman and on God compels God to punish man. Because God’s is a righteous judge, He must pour out His wrath on those who commit these loveless deeds.
Even though mankind has chosen not to love God and deserves His wrath, God still chooses to love mankind. God even chooses to love those who choose not to love Him and who through that inflict severe emotional pain on Him.
God does not stand far away from man’s suffering either. God came down to this earth as Jesus Christ, God incarnate, to suffer himself as a man. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He was rejected and despised by man. He experienced sickness, exhaustion and pain. He had a tremendous empathy for suffering people. He healed many and even raised some from the dead. He had empathy with those who suffered and who were despised and rejected by their fellowman. He wept with those who wept.
As an ultimate expression of His love, God took man’s guilt of sin and rebellion upon Himself. Our Lord Jesus never sinned. He perfectly loved both God and man. Yet he took upon himself the wrath of God for man’s selfishness and sin. He died in our place so that we can receive forgiveness of our sin and be reconciled to God. He also conquered death and rose on the third day, so that by believing in Him we can have eternal life.
Out of His unfathomable love for mankind, and exceedingly great desire to be with man eternally, God gave Himself as a ransom to redeem mankind back to Himself.
God effectively gives every person another chance to accept His free gift of love. By faith we can accept Christ and through Him receive forgiveness from our sins and be reconciled to God. Through Christ we also receive new life and the ability to love as Christ loves.
Yet, even now God does not force man. His character of love desires man to love Him out of free will. Heartrendingly, many people choose to persevere with their selfish life-styles and to pursue an eternity without God. Such people, who continue to harden their hearts against such love, will end in eternal torment. They will end where their selfish choices and deeds have taken them, a place without love.
Oh! that we would not harden our hearts against such a loving God!
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. … For the love of Christ compels us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. … Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”. (2 Corinthians 5:10-11,14-15, 17-21)
(Other scripture references: Genesis 3, Isaiah 53, Jeremiah 31:3, Matthew 22:34-40, John 3:16, John 11, Romans 3:22-26, Romans 13:8-10, 1 Corinthians 5:1, 2 Peter 3:9)