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Why Does God Allow Suffering?

The question is often asked, "If there is a God, a loving, merciful God, why does He allow people to suffer? How can He allow humans to experience the terrible accidents, illnesses, crime, wars and troubles that are so common in this world every day? Doesn't He care?"


God does care. He knows when humans suffer. But, let's remember, God isn't a mere human. He is God. His perspective is infinitely greater than ours. He sees the "bigger picture" - that our experiences as mortal humans, however painful or unhappy, will be to our eventual benefit. Make no mistake, the good and loving Creator would not allow such things to happen otherwise.

When a parent takes an infant to the doctor for a regular vaccination to prevent some childhood disease, it's because the parent cares for and loves that child. The young child however will almost always see things very differently. When the doctor's needle goes into that little arm, the child will often cry out and howl from the pain. It may look up at the parent, with those big innocent eyes, in the most pleading and pitiful way, as if to say, "Look at the horrible thing that's happening to me! Don't you care about my terrible suffering? How can you just stand there and allow this to go on? Don't you love me?"

The parent however knows better. He or she is aware that everything is going to be all right in a very short time (even though it almost always has an emotional impact on the parent to see the child distressed in such a way). A minor, brief pain is the price the child pays for a healthier life later.

Just as an infant cannot possibly understand the motives of its parent while it is still only a child, so too we cannot appreciably comprehend God's will for us while we are still as we are. It's a matter of perspective - the brief few years of a physical human lifetime, versus the eternity, time without end, that will follow. (see The Greatest Secret)

God is our ultimate parent. He knows all about the problems we often have, but He also knows that our experiences with pain and suffering, along with all of the good experiences that we may have, will, among other things, help to make us more understanding and compassionate - necessary qualities for those who themselves may one day be granted the power to create worlds. (see If You Could Create A World)

No human tragedy that has ever occurred is yet final. No one who has died an untimely death has been lost. None will be left out, from little ones who died in infancy to old ones who never had the chance to learn of God. Everyone will have a fair chance in their appointed time (see The Last Day). God is not about to willingly abandon any of His children for whom the price of life has been paid. Loss will only occur as the result of a knowing, deliberate refusal to accept God's offer of life.

Jesus Christ Himself, when He died for our sins, did not die without terrible suffering. He did not die peacefully in His sleep. He was not executed by painless lethal injection. Even though He had lived a perfectly sinless life, and had committed no crime, He was brutally beaten, flogged and crucified in great agony before being gored with a spear. (see How Did Jesus Christ Die?)

Let's remember that even the longest human life is merely like a single grain of sand on the infinite beach of the eternal life to come. After we have become immortal, even a century of the worst human pain and suffering would seem to us as almost insignificant, a momentary jab with a vaccination needle, and we will surely be the better for having experienced it.

Fact Finder: What will follow the life of human suffering?
(a) death (b) nothing (c) more suffering (d) glory
Romans 8:18

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