Many have difficulty accepting that God cares when people suffer. Many argue that an all-loving deity would never permit war, sickness and pain in his world.
However, Scripture shows us that suffering is due to sin rather than God himself; He offers solutions for our pain.
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1. He is a God of love
God allows suffering for several reasons, the primary one being His love for us (Romans 8:38). Nothing can separate us from His enduring devotion (John 15:26). As the ultimate parent, He shows His immense care by willing to sacrifice Himself on our behalf – an unwavering act that shows Him to care more than we ever could about our lives.
According to Scripture, God created a perfect and pain-free world that Adam and Eve initially lived in; however, at Satan’s urging they chose disobey Him by partaking of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil resulting in sin entering their world as well as death causing much sorrow and hardship for everyone involved.
As a result of humankind’s sinful acts, God had to judge humanity and the world. Part of His verdict included suffering for all people. Unfortunately, many Christians fail to comprehend why suffering exists and may conclude that God does not care about them as much. Yet this is simply not true – He loves all His children dearly, even those suffering deeply!
However, He is also a sovereign God and does not feel forced to permit suffering. He possesses the ability to end it at any time; He does so not because He is cruel but as part of His plan to rescue mankind from eternal death and lead them back home with Him.
When asked by any parent what their worst form of suffering is, most will reply that it involves giving up one’s child for someone else’s benefit. Jesus gave Himself as the sacrifice for us – He died on the cross to pay our debts as proof that He cares more than us about us living our lives! Crucifixion symbolizes God’s great love for His people.
2. He is a God of justice
Suffering is part of life. But some individuals experience greater suffering than others, leaving them questioning if God is unfair. Thankfully, the Bible teaches that one of the primary beliefs we must hold onto about Him is His righteousness – this means He will always act justly.
“Justice” comes from its Hebrew root word ujudgm, lawu, and righteousness and means to put things right. God is the ultimate judge who decides what is just and unjust – He determines our moral standards as He takes responsibility for the consequences of our actions.
As is often the case when children break the law or steal, their parent will punish them accordingly; similarly when we break laws.
But the Bible also reveals that God is a compassionate and merciful Being who cares deeply about our suffering, seeking ways to alleviate it. God showed His compassion by sending Jesus Christ on the Cross as the ultimate act of justice and mercy for mankind.
Some believers find themselves struggling to comprehend how a God of justice could allow so much suffering in this world, as their lives seem like one long heart-rending headline. Meanwhile, godless people enjoy comfort and success while they endure unimaginable suffering at the hands of unscrupulous individuals. Yet still they hold on tight to hope that someday justice will prevail despite appearances to the contrary.
Reminding ourselves that suffering came into this world as a direct result of sin is key. Adam and Eve disobeying God’s commands led Him to pronounce judgment that included suffering in their lives; hence the importance of following his commands fully if we want to ensure acceptance before Him on Judgment Day; therefore it’s crucial that we spend time each day praying and reading Scriptures for further insight.
3. He is a God of mercy
The Bible makes it abundantly clear that God loves mercy. He does not take pleasure in suffering and pain, which is why He works through it to bring healing. Eventually He will bring an end to it but not yet as He draws us closer and shows us about His kingdom.
The biblical word for mercy is an amazing and profoundly influential concept at the core of what it means to be Christian. Mercy is not simply a feeling, it’s an action and way of life fueled by compassion and a desire for good to prevail in an otherwise difficult situation; mercy requires forward forgiveness as well as being able to recognize an individual behind any hurtful words spoken or actions taken against another.
Old Testament Hebrew words that can be translated as mercy include ahavah, kprth and chesed; these three concepts conveying concepts such as faithful loyalty while showing kindness and mercy toward others. According to New Testament revelation, God shows His chesed through salvation and through forgiving sinners on a continual basis.
One amazing illustration of God’s mercy can be found in Joseph’s story: even after being betrayed by his brothers, He showed Joseph kindness by forgiving them and restoring him back into prominence in society. Mercy also demonstrated in Jesus Christ who paid our sins on the Cross before rising from death so He may live eternally with his Father in a world free from pain and sorrow.
Pope John Paul II explores this theme of mercy in his encyclical Dives in Misericordia (Rich in Mercy). The Parable of the Prodigal Son embodies this love; justice would dictate that his father be furious with his wayward son but instead went beyond duty to show compassion and welcome him home as an beloved son. God is just such a merciful being; He wants us all to experience it when we repent for our sins and put our trust in Christ Jesus.
4. He is a God of peace
Peace can often be thought of in terms of harmony between people or in a situation, but God’s peace goes much deeper. His peace provides comfort even during chaotic circumstances and protects your heart against anxiety and fear that can threaten it. According to Scripture, His peace transcends all understanding – an incredible supernatural peace which comes from an intimate relationship with Him.
God originally fashioned this world to be peaceful; when Adam and Eve committed sinful acts, however, disorder was introduced into society. Today however, our Creator God is at work restoring what has been lost as well as creating something brand new – His peace reigns supreme even though our world can appear chaotic at times.
He was the one who defeated Satan, casting him and his army of demons into eternal fire. He brought peace into heaven, which now extends down to earth – so we may live forever in his kingdom of joy, comfort and happiness! And He will end all suffering for those who believe in Jesus Christ!
At the same time, however, we must realize that God does not take pleasure in seeing his children suffering. He is good and kind, and will not allow anything harmful to our souls or bodies to happen to any of us. When necessary he may help us through suffering; otherwise it may serve to glorify his name even more fully.
God works through suffering to shape Christians into reflections of his character, teaching his children the truths of his word and preparing them for eternity with him. Those willing to accept this will be rewarded in the next life; those who rebel against and reject his offer of salvation will face harsher wrath and punishment from him.