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Many people view God as a God of love, and rightly so! Yet how can One who is so loving allow people to suffer?


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How Can God Allow Suffering

Suffering is something that affects everyone in different ways, at different times, and in different capacities. By definition, suffering is the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship. It is felt by everyone at some point in their lives.

Now, the question is often asked; why me, why now? Why does God allow suffering? Perhaps we should answer the last question first. To get to that answer, we have to go to the very beginning, the very beginning of our Bibles. Why would God have created a world full of suffering? Well, he didn't, actually. At least that wasn't the intention. In the very front of our Bible, if you were to sit down and open it to begin reading, just like any other book, you would start by learning of the first man and woman: Adam and Eve. They lived in a place called Eden, and it was a beautiful garden. By all accounts, this place was free from suffering. But they disobeyed God and went against his law. As a result, suffering entered the equation. As a direct consequence of entertaining free will and going against the commands of God, suffering now enters into the world.

As we can see today, in the world in which we live, it's a world full of cause and effect. Many of our actions have reactions. Our behaviours and our decisions influence what happens to us in our own lives. We, of course, have free will, and we bear the responsibility for the decisions and the actions that we take. From the Bible, we see that suffering is a consequence that now faces all humankind. Suffering is now something that is experienced, and it's experienced on account of free will, and it's also experienced on account of our own disobedience to God's laws. No one is given a different opportunity, and no one is judged any differently. It's the same law that's given by God, but it's our actions that bear the consequence.

This is what we see when we read what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 5:12: "Therefore, just as Sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all have sinned." Death is now Universal, and with it, many ways of suffering are experienced. So what we see when we open the word of God, when we spend the time to read it and to learn to understand what God would have us to know, is that this message is consistent. There's no moving target that we have to work to achieve. God is consistent; we worship a changeless God. And so the very same questions that we would ask today in relation to suffering have already been asked. And what's interesting for us as we open up the word of God is God has given us the answers.

In the Gospel of John (one of the books that contains the stories of Jesus's healings and his teachings), we come across the story of a blind man. The question is asked of the Son of God: who sinned? Why was this man born blind? Was it the sin of his parents, or was it the sin of this man? The answer that Jesus gives is neither. It's not a result of their sin, but rather that the works of God might be made manifest, that God's will and his work might be outworked. Suffering then is not the result of personal sin, but it will inflict each one of us in different ways at different times and in different modes. But the goal that God has set out for each one of us will not change. That's the value of worshiping a changeless God who operates under changeless principles. Suffering is one tool that God will use to work out his plan and purpose for the Earth and each of us. It is there, and it will be experienced, but to spend the time reading the Bible and learning about a loving God and his plan and purpose for us is what God desires of those who want to worship him. Our responsibility is to take the time to learn of God, to take the time to take his word into our hearts and into our minds, so that his love might be manifest in each one of us to learn about his plan and his purpose that the works of God might be manifest in you.

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Study Notes

How Can God Allow Suffering? | Part 1

Many people view God as a God of love, and rightly so! Yet how can One who is so loving allow people to suffer?

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