“If God is truly a god of love, why is there so much suffering?” Why indeed? I find I have a hard time looking at the news on my phone or TV. Everywhere you turn there’s war, disease, violence, and death. The pain is endless. Pain cannot be denied, but is it God’s fault?
So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.Genesis 3:23 NIV
Anytime you see words like so or therefore in scripture, there’s a reason. This verse early in the pages of our Bibles show us the first in a long line of consequences to that initial sinful act.
Sin is the cause. Pain is the symptom.Zacharias, Ravi and Vitale, Vince. Why Suffering? Finding Meaning and Comfort When Life Doesn’t Make Sense (New York: FaithWords, 2014), 44.
As believers in Christ, we know the pain of this world is a result of sin. That original sin has affected us all. We’re born with the tendency toward sin, and it shows its ugly head early in our lives.
Yet, we can still respond to the suffering question with the confidence that God is love. Do you know why? Think about a child. He wants to help his mom in the kitchen. He’s watching her cook and get ready for dinner. His small hand reaches out toward the hot stove.
What happens? One of two things: His mom quickly and firmly says, “don’t touch it, you’ll get burned,” or she pats his hand gently to stop him from experiencing even more pain. Both are acts of love. God did the same with us. We already know he did it with Adam and Eve by letting them know they could eat from all the trees of the garden save one, but he also later gave laws and prophets to guide the people of Israel toward right living. Both were acts of protection, and when they were ignored, pain came.
Instead of complaining to God today over the state of the world, thank him for protecting you from even more suffering—eternal suffering, by drawing you to Jesus. Thank him for the love which led him to bear our pain.
Grace and Peace