WHY DOES GOD ALLOW PEOPLE TO SUFFER? IS THE GOD OF THE BIBLE A CRUEL GOD OR IS HE LOVE AND JUSTICE?
WHY DOES GOD ALLOW PEOPLE TO SUFFER?
IS THE GOD OF THE BIBLE A CRUEL GOD OR IS HE LOVE AND JUSTICE?
Benefits of Suffering
Two questions have plagued the minds of Christians and non-Christians alike: why is there suffering? Why does God allow suffering?
There is one person who stands out above all to give an answer to these deepest of questions, namely St. Paul. In St. Paul’s writings we find a greatly developed meaning of suffering. Pope John Paul II explains why St. Paul writes so much on suffering: “The Apostle shares his own discovery and rejoices in it because of all those whom it can help – just as it helped him – to understand the salvific meaning of suffering
Why me? Why now? What is God doing? Suffering is a tool God uses to get our attention and to accomplish His purposes in our lives. It is designed to build our trust in the Almighty, but suffering requires the right response if it is to be successful in accomplishing God’s purposes. Suffering forces us to turn from trust in our own resources to living by faith in God’s resources.
Suffering is not in itself virtuous, nor is it a sign of holiness. It is also not a means of gaining points with God, nor of subduing the flesh (as in asceticism). When possible, suffering is to be avoided. Christ avoided suffering unless it meant acting in disobedience to the Father’s will.
“we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Most people do not like to suffer, but as Paul explains we can actually rejoice in our suffering not because we like pain, but because we know that God is using our suffering to produce hope. Imagine if you will a flow chart that begins with suffering. The suffering that we face in terms of life’s difficulties or attacks from the enemy produces perseverance in much the same way that practicing golf makes you a better golfer. The more we suffer, the more perseverance we build. This perseverance strengthens our character by building our trust and our faith in God, because the more we suffer the more we must lean on God’s strength to get through difficult times. As our faith and trust in God builds, our hope will also build as we gain greater and greater confidence in our future. In this way, though it might sound counter intuitive, suffering produces hope.
Suffering is a participation in the mystery of Christ and is the way Paul can become like Christ. Suffering is his way of “becoming like him (Christ) in his death” so that he “may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11). Through his suffering, Paul sees himself as participating in the Passion of Christ. Because we are being saved through the death and resurrection of Christ we must participate in his Passion to obtain salvation.
This is why Paul can say in his letter to the Galatians that “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me…who loved me and gave himself up for me.” Christ gave himself up for us in the salvific act of his Passion and death; Paul sees himself doing the same in participating in the Passion and death of Christ. Christ lives in him when he is “crucified with Christ.” John Paul II notes that “Christ also becomes in a particular way united to the man, Paul, through the cross
General Causes of Suffering
(1) We suffer because we live in a fallen world where sin reigns in the hearts of men.
(3) We sometimes suffer because it is God’s discipline. “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son He receives.” (Heb. 12:6).
(4) We may suffer persecution because of our faith--especially when we take a stand on biblical issues, i.e., suffering for righteousness sake (2 Tim. 3:12).
Of course, all of these do not apply at the same time. All suffering is not, for instance, a product of our own foolishness, self-induced misery, or sin. It is true, however, that rarely does suffering not reveal areas of need, weaknesses, and wrong attitudes that need to be removed like dross in the gold refining process
Suffering will mold our hearts. A hopeful heart will lead us forward in freedom; a hardened heart will leave us exhausted and isolated. Only our all-loving, all-powerful Father can fill our hearts with hope in our times of heartache. We have to lay our sufferings at His feet and know that He bears our burdens for us so we can live in the freedom He offers.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
WHY DOES GOD ALLOW PEOPLE TO SUFFER? IS THE GOD OF THE BIBLE A CRUEL GOD OR IS HE LOVE AND JUSTICE? Reviewed by Kannuri JOEL on 20:57:00 Rating: