“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
(John 16: 33 ESV)
“Even if you were aware of children and felt compassion, when you have your own, it multiplies. It breaks your heart to know that there are so many children in the world suffering so much.”
I have heard many people say they do not understand…they simply cannot even comprehend… why a loving God would allow so much suffering and pain in this world…so because of this seemingly perplexing inconsistency, many simply choose not to believe in God. They conclude there can be no God existing in a world which experiences so much gut-wrenching pain and catastrophic suffering. Suffering is unavoidable. Suffering does not discriminate…pain and suffering will eventually come to one and all. Suffering seems to destroy everything in its path… it actually renders the sufferer unable to simply carry on with the very essential basics of life….it destroys….shatters…. overwhelms….it quickly takes life as we know it completely away……it can rob us of life itself….
“Why Do people hate God? One, they hate the moral standard. Two, they hate the way He’s transforming the world even in the midst of suffering and tragedy.”
Different cultures and religions have attempted to define suffering. In fact, one way a culture serves its members is to attempt to define ways in which to face horrific pain and suffering. Some cultures and religions teach pain and suffering stem from the failure of people to live rightly. The doctrine of karma is an example of this. Buddhism teaches that suffering comes not from past deeds but from unfulfilled desires and those actual desires are the result of the illusion that we are individual selves. Some societies address suffering and pain with a high view of fate and destiny. Circumstances in life are predicted by supernatural forces…as in Islam…the will of Allah. Other cultures teach suffering is a battle between darkness and light. Our own contemporary secular Western culture is greatly lacking when it comes to explaining why pain and suffering occurs. Many Western people of today find the ultimate goal of life is happiness…and suffering prevents happiness from occurring…During the Enlightenment Period, there was a shift from the belief that people were created to serve God to the belief that God made the world for our benefit. Our ancestors once believed suffering was a part of life…but today we find a world where the belief is that God is obligated to arrange things the way we would like them to be…..When suffering and pain is seen as senseless…victims and cultures of its destruction develop deep anger…and deep hatred…and this growing anger and hatred is known as ressentiment…..
“As I lay so sick on my bed, from Christmas till March, I was always praying for poor ole master. Pears like i didn’t do nothing but pray for poor ole master. Oh, Lord, convert ole master, Oh, dear Lord, change dat man’s heart, and make him a Christian.”
“I find the greatest songs in the world come out of pain, and I don’t like it! Here’s what it does: its strips away all of your facade. It makes you so honest. It’s cleansing.”
Thus…pain and suffering has now become the single and strongest objection to the existence of God…..Why would a loving God allow pain and suffering in this world?
Christianity differs from all other worldviews…..
Because we have a God who Himself suffered and didn’t deserve the pain and suffering inflicted upon Him…..and the most difficult aspect of this to understand….to even begin to comprehend…..
God actually allowed this pain and suffering to happen…..
And what if ( just what if ) our acute awareness of pain and suffering is actually a clue that God does exist?
(John 11: 35 ESV)
To be continued…