Scriptures

Why Is There Pain And Suffering In The World?

Introduction

Pain and suffering are a real part of most people’s lives and Christians aren’t exempt. It comes at us in all kind of ways, a mother may have lost her children due to a relentless drunk driver. A father’s son has been murdered by his next-door neighbour. There are health issues, famines, earthquakes, war where children and adults are slaughtered by the thousands.

As Christians we will get asked all kinds of questions from non-Christians, some of the questions are relatively easier to answer than others.

But one question which keeps being asked, even by Christians is this, why is there evil in the world? Another question closely linked to that question is this, if God is good, why is there pain and suffering in the world? Or as some may ask, how can a perfect God allow suffering and evil?

It’s interesting to listen to the world’s reasoning with these questions, if you listen closely they almost blame the God they don’t even believe exists in the first place.

Now I can’t even begin to try and answer all these questions and to be honest with you, I hardly know where to begin because I know that pain and suffering are real. However, there are some Bible teachings that can help us understand a little about pain and suffering but please know I’m not trying to diminish or put down the reality of it all.

As a Christian I believe that the Bible has some important things to say on the subject at hand.

1. The very fact that people even talk about ‘evil’ or ‘suffering’ should tell us that there’s something wrong in the world.

Asking the question, why is there evil and suffering in the world? assumes that something is wrong or disordered, something is different than it should be! Where would we ever even get such an idea or standard if there is no God?

‘They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)’ Romans 2:15

This verse speaks about God’s law being written on our hearts. We judge things to be unjust based on a standard that is outside of ourselves.

2. The reality is that most suffering and pain is caused by people.

Think about!

There are wars, famine, poverty, murder and most of the pain that exists in the world is evil continued by people on other people. In the fall of humanity, Genesis 3, we see the introduction of enmity between people, creation, and God.

Our own experience of death, suffering, evil, sickness, and calamity can all be traced to a hostility of people from God and the curse that lies over all of creation due to sin.

‘To Adam he said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ ‘Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.’ Genesis 3:17

‘For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.’ Romans 8:20-23

Sin often directly results in pain and suffering. it also can result in judgment from God that brings pain and suffering.

‘When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble? When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it?’ Amos 3:6

3. Don’t forget, no matter how tough life gets that that God works even in the midst of pain and suffering.

Nobody wants pain of any kind to come into their live, but the reality is, there are times we just can’t avoid it. As Christians we need to remember that God’s work of redemption in Christ through the cross shows that suffering can lead to life and hope.

‘Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ Romans 5:3-8

‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.’ James 1:2-4

There is something predominantly redemptive about the suffering of the righteous when fully understood. 1 Peter 2-3.

Sigmund Freud called religion an illusion, humans invent to satisfy their security needs. To him, a benevolent, all-powerful God seemed unrelated with natural disasters and human evil. It’s always easy to blame others rather than taking a long serious look at ourselves.

God, even though He is all-powerful, blessed mankind with freedom, a freedom which gives us a choice as to whether to follow Him or to disobey Him. This doesn’t answer all our questions but suggests that the problem of evil isn’t as great an intellectual obstacle to belief as some imagine.

Remember God sometimes does intervene to prevent evil

Pain’s emotional barrier to belief, however, remains formidable, Jesus understands suffering, He was scorned, beaten, and cruelly executed, carrying the guilt of our rebellion against God.

‘Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.’ Isaiah 53:10

Conclusion

Do you remember the very first murder and family feud recorded in the Bible? Remember what Cain did to Abel?

‘That while they were in the field Abel attacked his brother and killed him.’ Genesis 4:8

Originally Cain was angry at God, so why did he turn his anger at God onto his brother? Worldly people can’t stand to be reminded that their lives aren’t lined up with the will of God. Abel is telling us that devote people should expect these kind of questions and hostility from an ungodly world.

‘This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil, and his brothers were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.’ 1 John 3:11

Abel was hated because his life was a public rebuke to the way of Cain. In the New Testament we find that when Jesus was talking to the Pharisees, Jesus says, ‘you know, you guys, you kill prophets and then your kids make monuments to them’, he says, ‘you’ve been doing that ever since the days of Abel.’ Luke 11:51

So, Jesus says Abel was a prophet, so perhaps not only did Abel’s own righteous life rebuke Cain, perhaps Abel even preached to Cain. Perhaps Abel try to say to his brother,

‘Brother Cain, you need to listen to God, you should not go your own way, you should not rebel against God, you need to do what God says and you need to honour God.’

You see, Jesus knew something, He knew that the murder of Abel was really the work of the serpent.

‘You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning.’ John 8:44

Jesus knew who was behind the murder of Abel. Jesus knew the offspring of the serpent would always be at enmity with the offspring of the woman.

‘And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.’ Genesis 3:15

Paul said to his dear young friend Timothy.

‘Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.’ 2 Timothy 3:12

We can just count on that, there’s not going to be any peace talks. There is only one way we can avoid hostility from the world and that’s to compromise and look so much like the world that they can’t recognise their own actions as evil as they are, that’s the only way.

There is going to be enmity between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman as long as this world turns. It is going to be with us until Jesus comes back. If you accept a standard that is different from the world. There’s going to be clashes. If you pursue loyalties that is above earthly loyalties you’re going to be opposed.

When God said,

‘from this woman’s seed there’s going to be a head crusher’. Genesis 3:15

Satan made up his mind that he’s going to attack every godly seed that comes from this woman. He did it to Abel, he did to every prophet who came after Abel and he’s still doing it today. Don’t deceive yourselves that someday there is going to be great harmony and there is going to be great peace between the people of God and the people of the world. There’s never going to be peace, because Satan doesn’t want peace.

What I’m saying is that Christians need to feel good that we are on the serpents enemy list and when he comes after us and he attacks us, when he sends the Cains of this world to attack and oppress and confront and ridicule us, we need to feel good that you’re on the serpents enemy list. Because this thing is going to keep going until the world stops.

People of the world are always going to ask these questions because they don’t know and don’t understand God and His ways. But please know that if you’re a Christian and are suffering in any shape or form, you’re not alone. God had blessed you with a spiritual family to help you get through these times.

‘Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfil the law of Christ.’ Galatians 6:2

We all have difficult questions and not many of us have the answers to the questions. Why does divorce hurt so much? Why have I got this terminal disease? Why did my child have to die so young? Why are there famines, wars and earthquakes?

Why? Why? Why?

I don’t know, I can try and settle the questions in my mind, but deep down, I don’t really know. But one thing I do know as a Christian, because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, I have seen enough to trust Him.

‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’ Romans 8:28

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."

John 5:24

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