Why Does God Allow Suffering?
Have you ever pondered the thought of why God allows us, as His creation, to suffer? If we are all honest this thought has all crossed our minds before. We wonder why a child is aborted. We wonder why people in the world are hungry. We have wondered why people are killed in horrific ways in the name of a religion. We wonder why we have to walk through the dark valley we are facing. Yes, this has all crossed our minds.
We think about this very specifically when we are the ones who suffer. Over several weeks I have heard some stories of people who wonder if God really loved them because of circumstances and suffering in their lives. I must admit I would be thinking the same thing if I had walked their personal journey. I know at times I am supposed to be the one who offers council, but I struggle as well. Yes, I am messed up and David was as well.
In Psalm 22, David said, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.”
Ever been at that point in your life? In today’s reading David is there. He continues, “My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within me. My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.” David is suffering. He has reached the end of himself. Why?
Why do God’s children face suffering? Still wondering? Philippians 3:10-11 says, “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!” Okay, now are you really confused? Paul says he wants to suffer with Christ. Why?
Through God’s word, He tells us that He has good plans for us. Nothing we face in our lives is in vain. In everything we walk through God desires for us to grow. And the best we can be in this life is to become more like Jesus. In the transformation process sometimes it requires pain. If the block of marble could share, it would say the artist’s chisel hurts very deeply. Just when it feels like all is hopeless the artist steps back and shows his masterpiece. The same thing is happening in my life. I am a work of art in progress.
All of us desire to be free from pain. All of us desire to be happy and God desires this for our lives as well. However, growth does not always happen in this environment. Sometimes a tree will grow to its fullest potential when it is pruned the most. It turns out that the greatest growth in our lives takes place in the times of our mourning and suffering.
I asked my youngest son to help me trim a bush in our back yard. I explained how the clippers worked and I walked away to finish the yard work. When I returned I found nothing but a “nub” left. That bush went through some deep suffering, but I am convinced it will grow the best because of the trimming and deep cutting it faced from my son.
David grew a lot when he was at his lowest. If you are walking through a place of mourning may I ask you, how are you growing? God’s greatest desire is for us to grow and become more like Jesus. Sometimes the best growth in our lives happen in our darkest pain. I want you to know you are not alone in what you are facing because in all things we face, Jesus has been there.
Here are some places Jesus suffered while He was here on this earth. How can you relate?
He was rejected by His family
He was rejected by His own people
He was rejected by everyone
He was betrayed by His closest friends
He walked through the death of friends and family
He was persecuted and beaten
He was arrested for His teachings
He was lied to
He was falsely accused
He was separated from His family; His Dad
He was forsaken to die on the cross
He was hated
He died a death He did not deserve
I am not belittling your suffering when I say this, but a lot of us have not suffered near what Jesus suffered. I take comfort today in knowing when I suffer, He knows how I feel. Jesus has walked the path and He did it well.
David, instead of complaining, did something we do not always do. He finished his Psalm by saying, “All who seek the Lord will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy. The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him. All the families of the nations will bow down before him. For royal power belongs to the Lord. He rules all the nations… Our children will also serve him. Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord. His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born. They will hear about everything he has done.”
As you reflect on your life today, take the time to recognize how you have grown closer to God through your suffering. Also, give Jesus Christ the praise. Does it make the suffering any easier? No, not every time, but it will help you as you grow. Today, I am going to take my example from David and praise the Lord in spite of the suffering I may be facing. How about you? Don’t quit before His good plan happens in your life.