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It is a question that has been asked for centuries: Why do good people suffer? If God is good and loving, why does he allow pain and hardship to afflict those who strive to do what is right? In this article, we will explore what the Bible says about this difficult question.
The Problem of Suffering
Suffering takes many forms, from physical pain and illness to emotional distress and loss. It can strike anyone, regardless of age, gender, or social status. And yet, we tend to think that good people should be exempt from suffering. After all, if someone is kind, generous, and loving, shouldn’t they be rewarded with a life free of hardship?
The Bible tells us that suffering is a result of sin. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, sin entered the world and with it, suffering. While God is not the author of sin, he has allowed it to exist for a time, knowing that it would result in suffering. In Romans 8:20-21, Paul writes, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
But why do good people suffer? Is it simply a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Or is there more to it than that?
WHY GOD? The Problem of Evil and Suffering?
The Example of Job
Perhaps no one in the Bible suffered more than Job. He was a man who feared God and turned away from evil, yet he lost everything he had, including his wealth, his health, and his family. Job’s friends were convinced that he must have sinned to bring about such suffering, but Job maintained his innocence. In the end, God restored Job’s fortunes and blessed him with more than he had before.
The story of Job teaches us that suffering is not always a punishment for sin. Sometimes, God allows good people to suffer for reasons that are not immediately apparent. As Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
The Purpose of Allowing Suffering
While suffering can seem senseless and unbearable, the Bible teaches that God can use it for good. In Romans 8:28, Paul writes, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
This does not mean that suffering is good in and of itself, but rather that God can bring good out of even the most difficult situations. For example, suffering can lead us to rely more fully on God, to develop greater compassion for others who are suffering, and to grow in our faith and character.
Foreknowledge and Free Will: Exploring a Bible Difficulty
Jesus himself suffered greatly, even though he was completely innocent. In Hebrews 5:8, we read, “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.” Through his suffering, Jesus was able to identify with our pain and offer us the hope of eternal life.
The Hope of Redemption
Ultimately, the Bible offers us the hope of redemption. While we may never fully understand why good people suffer, we can trust that God has a plan to make all things right in the end. In Revelation 21:4, we read, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
This promise gives us hope in the midst of our suffering. We can trust that God is with us, even in our darkest moments. Furthermore, the Bible teaches that those who endure suffering will be rewarded with eternal life in a paradise on earth. (Revelation 21:3-4) This hope can bring comfort and perspective to those who are struggling.
In conclusion, the question of why good people suffer is a difficult one, but the Bible provides several answers. The suffering we experience is not necessarily a punishment from God or a result of our own personal sin. It is often the result of living in an imperfect and fallen world, where disease, natural disasters, and human sin cause pain and suffering. However, we can find comfort in knowing that God is with us in our suffering and that He promises to bring an end to all suffering in the future. Through faith and trust in God, we can find hope and peace even in the midst of our trials.
Is this what God intended?
As stated in the Bible, God created humans to live in a perfect paradise, free from suffering and pain. However, when humans chose to rebel against God and follow their own desires, sin and its consequences entered the world, including suffering and death.
While God did not intend for us to suffer, he has allowed it as a consequence of sin. This does not mean that God is the direct cause of our suffering, but rather that he has allowed it to happen. It is important to note that God is not indifferent to our pain and suffering, and he can use it for good. As the Bible says in Romans 8:28, “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.”
Ultimately, God’s plan is to restore the perfect paradise that he intended for humans to live in. Through Jesus Christ, God offers the opportunity for humans to be reconciled to him and to have the hope of eternal life in a perfect world free from suffering and pain.
Were we meant to suffer?
The Bible teaches that humans were not originally created to suffer. In fact, the first human couple, Adam and Eve, were created perfect and were placed in a beautiful paradise called the Garden of Eden. They enjoyed perfect health, perfect relationships with each other and with God, and they had meaningful work to do. However, when they rebelled against God’s command, sin and death entered the world, and suffering became a part of human experience. As a result of their disobedience, they were driven out of the garden and lost their perfect life. The Bible says that all humans inherited sin and death from Adam, and this is why we all suffer (Romans 5:12).
God is INDIRECTLY responsible for SOME things and DIRECTLY responsible for OTHER things
Although humans were not meant to suffer, God can use suffering for good purposes. For example, suffering can help us develop empathy and compassion for others who are going through similar experiences. Suffering can also help us appreciate the good things in life, and it can teach us important lessons about the value of faith, hope, and perseverance. Ultimately, God has promised to bring an end to all suffering and to restore a perfect life to those who trust in him (Revelation 21:4).
Furthermore, as imperfect humans, we are subject to the consequences of living in a world that is filled with imperfection and unpredictability. However, the Bible assures us that God has not abandoned us to our suffering. In fact, he has made provisions to alleviate our pain and restore what has been lost.
God Promises to End Suffering
The Bible promises a time when suffering will be no more. Revelation 21:4 says, “He will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” This promise gives us hope in the midst of our suffering. We can trust that God is with us, even in the darkest of times.
God Allows Suffering for Good
While suffering is not something that God causes, he can use it for good. Romans 8:28 says, “We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” This means that God can bring good out of even the most difficult and painful situations. We can trust that he has a plan and a purpose for our suffering.
God Comforts Us in Our Suffering
The Bible teaches that God is a God of comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” When we are in the midst of suffering, we can turn to God for comfort and strength.
In conclusion, while suffering is a reality that we all face, it is not a punishment from God or a reflection of our goodness or badness. It is a consequence of our sinful nature and the imperfection of the world we live in. However, we can trust that God is with us in our suffering, using it for good and offering us comfort and hope for the future.
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