The problem of evil: Why does God allow His people to suffer?

Introduction

The world is full of suffering, and oftentimes humanity can observe the kindest and most generous of people suffering far more than wicked self-centered people do. Why? Why does God allow His saints to suffer and what does Scripture in the Bible say about their suffering? Where is God when people suffer from hurt and loss, either for ones’ self or for loved ones, according to Scripture? The Bible and the Christian worldview offer both comfort and reasons for why suffering and pain exist in the world, and why godly people suffer, and how God aids people in their grief. The Bible teaches that the Lord is close to those who have broken hearts and he saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalms 34:18). The Bible also teaches us that the temporary troubles here on earth are achieving eternal glory that far out-weighs the problems and ailments from this life (2 Corinthians 4:17). So, there are many reasons according to Scripture to remain hopeful and stay God rooted during the tribulations of life in this fallen world.

Why Does God Allow Saints to Suffer Sometimes Miserably?

God assures mankind that the temporary struggles in this fallen world do not compare to the promise of eternity and heaven with Jesus (2 Cor. 4:17). Furthermore, the Bible guarantees people that whoever chooses to live a godly life in Jesus will in fact be persecuted in this world (2 Tim 3:12). Just as Jesus suffered on the cross, so will believers also suffer in this life (1 Peter 4:1). From mankind’s finite perspective the pain and suffering right now feel like an eternity, however, compared to eternity in heaven the suffering in this world is minuscule, the trick is to think big and think eternally versus being short-sighted with immediate gratification. What seems like a mountain of pain and suffering right now will seem like a speck of sand from the standpoint of eternity in heaven.

Scripture also teaches that those who suffer and persevere in this world with faith are blessed, having stood the test of the fallen world they will receive eternal life because they loved God despite the suffering they experienced (James 1:12). The Bible makes it clear that this world is like a testing ground, to separate those who persevere with love for God while under the trials of evil compared to those who deny God based on similar trials and tribulations. One can experience the same event and situation and respond in numerous ways, including staying God rooted, or denying God. God does not keep it a secret that people are being tested in this world, He has let humanity know through Scripture so they can be at peace and have faith despite the temporary inconveniences of this world (John 16:33).

Scripture does not hide the fact that all people will suffer, in fact, Scripture warns people ahead of time letting them know they will suffer and that suffering in this world is actually an occasion to celebrate and rejoice in Jesus (1 Peter 4:12-13). Sometimes people do not experience or appreciate a blessing without first knowing what the opposite of a blessing is. It appears, that according to Scripture and the Bible that this life is not the end all be all goal for humanity, earth is a testing ground full of suffering, heartache, and loss for a very specific purpose and that is a purpose of perseverance and love for God no matter the temporary hardships (Romans 8:18). Despite the guaranteed suffering of this world, God assures mankind he is there with people in their grief.

             According to Scripture Where is God When We Have Deep Hurt and Loss?

Deep hurt and loss can be called grief. Scripture and the Bible reassure people that God is close to those who are broken-hearted and crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). Scripture further explains that not only is God close with those who are brokenhearted, but he heals broken hearts and binds up wounds (Psalm 147:3). God promises to wash tears away from peoples’ eyes and He promises no more death, mourning, crying, or pain (Rev. 21:4). Blessed are those who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matt 5:3). God is there, right at the side of those who are in grief and those who suffer persecution.

No matter what, God works for the good of those who love him and are called to serve Him whether in this life or the life to come, or both (Romans 8:28). I have been strongly called to serve God even before I knew Him. He saved me from the new age Yoga world (and he allowed me to become an expert in that world for a reason- and that is to serve His Kingdom). God has blessed me immensely, and He blessed me even before I was born again in Jesus with a loving family, (who all became saved when I was born again) tribulations that were gifts of perspective, and even meeting my families needs’ which has allowed me to devote my whole self to God with no obstacles of money or time. God knows my bold and extreme ways as a person, and he put me in the position he has to serve His Kingdom powerfully and fulltime. God took care of the details in His grand plan, and I recognize I am in a season of growth and education right now, a season of growing deeper roots. Despite being misguided and deceived for most of my life, God was with me, blessing me for His purpose which is yet to be revealed.

In spite of the temporary troubles of this world, God’s eternal glory trumps the small temporary pains that people experience on earth (2 Cor. 4:17). For myself personally, I have lost numerous friends since being born again in Jesus. I have been ridiculed and belittled since becoming an evangelical conservative Christian. I rejoice when I am persecuted (1 Peter 6:7). Having spent most of my life in southern California, my secular friends and business colleagues loved me when I was a “woo-woo” new ager, but not so much now, and they are not silent but vocal in their disdain. “What happened to you? You used to be normal.” In spite of losing many of my “friends” and business associates in the last year, I am more inspired than I have ever been because of Christ’s example and guidance (1 Peter 2:19-21). Losing material things in this world, like people and status is nothing in comparison to gaining the love of Christ (Phil. 3:8). Jesus and Scripture warn us that the fallen world hated Jesus, and the ungodly world will also hate those who are born again in Christ (John 15:18-19). Scripture can give comfort, hope, and explanation for those who are suffering and experiencing loss in this world.

Conclusion

The Bible and Scripture teach that those who are persecuted and suffer because of Jesus are blessed for eternity in heaven (Matt 5:10-12). Scripture provides a logical worldview for why evil exists from the fall, why saints suffer, and Scripture also provides hope and purpose for these tribulations in the life to come (James 1:2-4). The Bible promises that the mountain of pain and suffering in this world will turn to comfort and eternal good because God works for the good of those who love him (Rom. 8:28). God comforts us in our grief and promises to wipe away all tears and heartache and even death (Rev 21:4). Suffering and loss teach us to depend on God, trust in Him, and cast all worries onto Him; Scripture explains people are like a puff of breath and are temporary, but God’s love is constant and eternal, so heartache teaches us to put full faith in God, and not the things of this world including people (Psalm 65:5-12). Scripture has made it clear, that in this fallen world there will be suffering, there will be heartache, and there will be loss, and all of this reflects the reality of the world. But there is hope for those who stay God rooted despite the tribulations of this world, and that hope is eternal life in heaven with Jesus when the pains of the past will seem like a distant memory (Isa 65:17).