How do we come to grips with the evil and suffering that we see in our world today? More specifically, how do we begin to make sense of the suffering that we ourselves experience in our daily lives? The problem of the presence of evil and suffering in our world has confounded many otherwise intelligent people down through the ages. For some, it has been a convenient excuse to question the goodness or existence of God. Their line of reasoning is that a loving God would not permit such evil and suffering to exist in the first place. Therefore, God is either unloving or does not exist at all. Others have said that God is loving, but He must not be powerful enough to put a stop to evil and suffering. There must be a better answer to this dilemma than what the world has offered, and we find it when we turn to God’s Word.
We, as Biblical Christians, believe not only that God exists, but also that God is both all-loving and all-powerful. How then do we reconcile this with a world that includes evil and suffering?
The source of evil and suffering:
The Bible makes it very clear in the opening pages of Genesis that disobedience to God (sin) introduced suffering into our world. This disobedience was preceded by temptation from the evil one himself, Satan. Although we cannot state with certainty why we experience specific instances of suffering, we can say for certain that all suffering, in a general sense, entered the world at the point that Adam and Eve disobeyed God. This fallenness spread to the remainder of humanity (that includes us), along with the associated suffering.
The solution to evil and suffering:
Where there is a problem, our God always provides a solution. Jesus not only defeated evil by His death on the cross, He also suffered on our behalf, so that one day suffering would come to an end for God’s people. His death broke the curse that held humanity captive since the creation of the world. Jesus disarmed the forces of evil, making a spectacle of them. Even though Jesus suffered terribly on our behalf, suffering was not the final word….the final word was “resurrection”. Jesus, in just a short three day period, had solved the problem of evil and suffering for all who would come to him in humble repentance and faith.
The higher purpose of evil and suffering:
Why then does God permit evil and suffering to exist in His good world? Another way to ask the question is, why didn’t God create a perfect world in the first place? Here are some potential answers to these questions. Because we as humans have been given moral reasoning faculties, there must be a world that freely allows us to use those abilities. Hence, the presence of good and evil in our world. Another angle to consider is that darkness creates in us a greater appreciation for the light. If we had never experienced a dark room, would we truly appreciate a light switch and bulb? Because we have experienced living in this sin darkened world, I truly believe that we will enjoy and appreciate the glories of Heaven much, much, more. And don’t forget, this world of good and evil is a training ground that God is using to prepare His children for their places of service in eternal glory.
The end of evil and suffering:
Finally, and may we never forget, that suffering for the child of God only lasts for a short season, during the days of this life. Eternity is so much longer and significant in comparison. God has set a time limit on your suffering. One day He will make it all right, when He calls you home into eternal glory where there is no more suffering, but instead perfect fellowship and peace in the presence of your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Even now, we do know that all things are working together for our good, even our suffering, if we will entrust it to our loving Lord and Savior.
Be encouraged child of God. You are loved. Your life has meaning and purpose even when you suffer.