I think that this is one of the hardest questions we face: if God really is powerful and loving, the way the Bible says, why do such terrible things happen?

God will stop all the suffering in the future. See, plucked from a choice of many passages, Revelation 21:4:

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be morning nor crying nor pain anymore for the former things have passed away.”

And it’s going to be soon, real soon. We’re just waiting for the time to be right. Revelation (ch 6:8-10) says that all the suffering cries out for vengeance, but God is waiting until enough people have been saved.

In the meantime, there are many different causes of suffering — sometimes caused by the deliberate maliciousness of other people, sometimes disease, sometimes accidents, sometimes natural disasters, while sometimes it is the unhappiness associated with an unsatisfactory relationship.  This is God’s work:

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” (Romans 8:18–22, NIV)

Suffering brings us to God. Not nice, but true. It was true even for Jesus:

It was only right that God, who creates and preserves all things, should make Jesus perfect through suffering, in order to bring many children to share his glory. For Jesus is the one who leads them to salvation. (Hebrews 2:10, GNB)

Use your freedom: choose to come to God. It’s the only way to see the end of suffering, but it will not be until God is ready.

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7 Responses to Why doesn’t God stop suffering?

  1. Walter says:

    Jn. 10:10, 2Pet. 3:9 It’s the kindness of God that leads to repentance not suffering. Ro. 2:4 If that was the case India would be saved along with every abused person on earth. God will use the healing of our suffering to bring us closer, but to attribute the source of it to God is almost blasphemous!

    • Rob J Hyndman says:

      In Isaiah 45:7, God says:
      I form light and create darkness,
      I make well-being and create calamity,
      I am the Lord, who does all these things.

  2. Jon says:

    In Deut 8:2-3, 15-16 God says he caused suffering to test the Hebrews to do them good in the end, so they would learn to rely on him alone.

  3. Walter says:

    We understand scripture by scripture. If isolated, verses may appear contradictory. Personal relationship (in light of comparative biblical truth) reveals who God really is. Our Creator provides the standard, the rule of thumb. The enemy only operates with power and influence outside of that standard. “Calamity”, like “darkness” is merely the absence of light. 1jn. 3:7-8

  4. Grahame Grieve says:

    hi Walter

    Thanks for your comments. You are correct that we must understand scripture by scripture (even though you appear to qualify this by saying that our personal relationship is more important?)

    Someone else wrote a first draft of response to this question, and talked about suffering being an inevitable consequence of free will. While I agree with this, I couldn’t find any satisfactory Bible discussion of this, and couldn’t therefore see this as a Bible answer. Instead, balancing verse against verse, as I researched this answer, it became more clear to me that God created a world full of adversity (“he created calamity” per Rob’s quote) but then he reaches out to us (your “personal relationship”) and offers us a helping hand through it, along with a promise that it *will* be different in the future.

    So I agree that it’s the kindness of God that leads to repentence – but this does not mean that suffering is not also of God.

  5. Walter says:

    Hi Grahame,

    Personal relationship is more important than interpretation when understood as founded and sustained through communication with God. Divine communication is explained as Him speaking to us (primarily) by His word, and We responding to Him effectively the same. Often what is portrayed in writ is not the meaning the Author intended. Therefor, based on the reciprocal process of (the above mentioned) Divine communication, we increasingly learn through experiential knowledge of Him.

    You stated: “God created a world of adversity”.
    God created a system that functions by observable laws and principles. Within this system He set the limits and parameters by which all things operate. Not even He operates outside of His system. Isa. 55:11, Heb. 1:3. Consequently, many perceive God’s observance of His law as: acceptance, permission, and even creation of suffering.

    God’s purpose for the heavens and the earth was to reflect Himself. Gen.1:3-4, 1Jn. 1:5

    God’s original plan was for man to have “dominion”over the earth. Gen.1:26. When God chose Adam and spoke to him, He crowned him with the authority to speak and rule as Himself in the earth. Gen. 2:19

    The enemy was banned; to be in subjection to man. Satan could be loosed only by an act of Adams will. Through deception and perversion of God’s pure goodness and love, Satan usurped Adams authority, exposed him to separation from God, and facilitated suffering as the result thereof.

    An infant crawls off the deck of a pool and drowns. Did God cause that? Did He permit it? Does He will it? No, on all three! The stability of His laws, will, and word is what best facilitates His love for us. It’s what gives us confidence and assurance in life. James 1:17 God is not yin and yang! God is love.

  6. Grahame Grieve says:

    hi Walter.

    I don’t question the importance of the personal relationship, but it doesn’t change what truth is, nor can it influence an answer here on BIbleQ.

    But we agree about the purpose of God’s plan. As for satan, I cannot agree. See here: http://bibleq.info/answer/tag/satan/

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