I don’t know if this question has entered your mind or has been asked of you in the past couple weeks, “If God is good and loving, why is He allowing all this suffering and evil to exist in our world”? This has been a tough month or so for the United States. First came the hurricanes which brought major flooding, death and destruction to our southern and gulf communities. Then we had the horrible shooting deaths of 58 individuals by an apparently lone crazed gunman who rained down warlike gunfire on crowds of concert goers in Las Vegas. Now here in California we are faced with wildfires, which are currently ravaging the houses and properties of thousands of people in Southern and Northern CA and at the date of this writing has caused many deaths. All this suffering causes many to ask the question, “Why?”
That “why” question goes back thousands of years. It was asked in the Old Testament by Job and the writers of the Psalms, and it was especially relevant during the 20th century, where we witnessed two World Wars, the Holocaust, genocides in the Soviet Union and China, devastating famines in Africa, the killing fields of Cambodia, the emergence of AIDS, the genocide in Rwanda and the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo. There was 9/11, the ISIS slaughters, and on and on. Why all of this if there’s a loving and powerful God?
But if you’ve never asked why our world is infected with pain and suffering, you will when they strike you with full force or they come to a loved one. And Jesus said they are coming. Unlike some other religious leaders who wrote off pain and suffering as just being illusions, Jesus was honest. He told us the truth. He said in John 16:33, “You will have suffering in this world.” He didn’t say you might – he said it is going to happen.
We may not be able to make out all the peripheral details of why — they may be obscured from our view — but there are some key Biblical truths that can illuminate some points for us. And if we consider these truths, they will lead us in the right direction, toward some conclusions that I believe can help give us some basic answers.
I’ll list them here today and go into each one a little deeper in part 2 of this article.
Biblical Truths To Consider When Contemplating Evil and Suffering
- God is not the creator of evil and suffering.
- Though suffering isn’t good, God can use it to accomplish good.
- The day is coming when suffering will cease and God will judge evil.
- Our suffering will pale in comparison to what God has in store for His followers.
- We decide whether to turn bitter or turn to God for peace and courage.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33