suffering

How can there be a God when there is so much suffering? Great question! Firstly, suffering was never part of God's original plan - the start of Genesis shows us a perfect world going wrong. Secondly, suffering is also not part of God's final plan - the end of Revelation describes a future where there is no more suffering, evil or death. The Bible makes it clear that God is good, so God's nature is not to cause suffering. Much suffering is caused by humans (think about wars, terrorism, inequality and poverty), though not all of it is.

But even if God is not the cause, why does he allow it? Maybe so as not to go against our free will? Perhaps because he can meet us in our suffering? We don't know for definite. Amazingly, though, the God of the Bible never distances himself from suffering. Jesus came to earth and experienced the worst kind of suffering. So we know that Jesus understands our pain, and he promises to be with us through our suffering. Maybe that is more powerful than a one-sentence explanation? 

Key Bible Verses

Genesis
3:14-19

God told the serpent:

“Because you’ve done this, you’re cursed,
    cursed beyond all cattle and wild animals,
Cursed to slink on your belly
    and eat dirt all your life.
I’m declaring war between you and the Woman,
    between your offspring and hers.
He’ll wound your head,
    you’ll wound his heel.”

Read the whole passage at biblegateway.com

Romans
8:18-22

That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

2 Corinthians
1:5

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.