How Could A Loving God Allow Suffering
January 25/26, 2020
“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”—Richard Dawkins
A pastor at a funeral once said: “Times like this can cause us to become cynical, unforgiving, angry at God and live in the shadows of hatred and bitterness, or we can choose to walk in the light and warmth of God’s love and realize in time He will make everything right. It’s up to us to choose.”
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:3-5)
Is there a point to our pain?
“Who has measured the water in the hollow of his hand, and marked off the heavens by the span, and calculated the dust of the earth by the measures, and weighted the mountains in the balance, and the hills in a pair of scales?” (Isaiah 40:12 NASB)
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Suffering has the potential to soften your heart.
“Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)
“God comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others with the same comfort we received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4)
Suffering has the potential to harden your heart.
Jesus’ suffering has the potential to heal your heart.
“He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,
And like one from whom men hide their face,
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely, our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried.
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities.
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed. (Isaiah 53:3-5 NASB)
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. (Matthew 28:5-6)
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:6-9)