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Don Stewart :: Why Does God Allow People to Suffer?

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Don Stewart

Does the Bible give any reasons why people go through times of suffering?

Although the Scriptures do not give a complete explanation of why people suffer it does provide some solutions and comfort.

This Was Not His Original Intention

The Bible teaches that suffering is an intrusion into the universe that God has made. It was not His original intention that people suffer. When God created the universe everything was good.

And God saw everything that he had made, and indeed it was very good (Genesis 1:31).

Suffering Is A Result Of Sin

Suffering entered into God's universe as a result of sin. This occurred when Adam and Eve disobeyed God at the prompting of the devil. Because of their disobedience God pronounced judgment upon them. This included that they would suffer in this life.

To the woman he said: 'I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.' Then to Adam he said, . . . 'Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return' (Genesis 3:16-19).

If we are to understand suffering we must realize that human responsibility is involved in much of the suffering that goes on. We suffer on our own account or because of what others have done to us. We should not blame God for the suffering that we bring upon ourselves or that others cause.

Where Is The Relief From Suffering?

But no matter who is responsible for suffering the fact is that we still suffer. How can we experience relief from that suffering?

The Bible teaches that Jesus came to relieve the problem of human suffering. Jesus spoke of one of the purposes of His coming.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed (Luke 4:18).

Jesus also taught that there was something worse than physical suffering.

And I say to you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear him! (Luke 12:4,5).

The Bible teaches that Jesus suffered on our behalf.

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6).

There Will Be An End Of Suffering

Because of Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf God will someday put an end to suffering.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. . . And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. And God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then he who sat on the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new' (Revelation 21:1,3-5).

Summary

When God created the universe there was no sickness or suffering. Suffering came as a result of man's sin. It was not something God built into the universe. Jesus came to relieve the problem of suffering. He taught that there was something worse than physical suffering. Jesus suffered and died on our behalf so that one day there would be no more suffering.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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