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Suffering

One of the common challenges thrown at Christians today is, “If there is a loving God, how can He allow suffering to occur?”

In his 2008 book, God’s Problem, author Bart Ehrman uses 278 pages to complain that the Bible fails to answer the question – Why We Suffer, which is part of the subtitle of the book. His conclusion, the Bible gives answers, but they are not “satisfying intellectually or morally.” His conclusion, he doesn’t know why we suffer either, but we should “work to alleviate” it. The Bible devotes an entire book to dealing with the problem, the book of Job. Suffering, like all other human experiences, is directed by the wisdom of God. In the end it is true, we learn that we may never know the specific reason for our suffering, but we must trust in God. Suffering and death are part of the curse of sin on the world (Genesis 3:16-19). Adam and Eve fell, and when they did, they brought to all the suffering of death.

The question of why some suffer at death and others do not could be summed up in one statement: "God is sovereign." That is not just a trite and easy statement.

When Jesus healed a man born blind, the disciples asked, "Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” (John 9:1-3) The principle here can be applied to our question. God allows some to suffer so that the work of God may be seen, and others not to suffer for the same reason. It is His will that determines each circumstance. Romans 8:28 contains some comforting words for those enduring hardship and suffering: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” God orchestrates the events in our lives, even suffering, to accomplish both our temporal and eternal benefit.

Therefore, we can say that no suffering is without a purpose in the plan of God, though we as finite humans may not see that purpose clearly.

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