People have probably been asking questions about pain and suffering since the beginning of our existence.
Why do bad things happen to good people? Why are there innocent children dying? Why do we suffer sicknesses? Death? War? Slavery? Discrimination?
We’re all too familiar with the hard slaps of reality in our lives. It’s never a walk in the park. I used to think that when I get older, everything would somehow be better. Now, my eyes are witnessing even more injustice than ever. And just like countless others, I can’t help but ask, “Where is God in all of this?”
Extensive research and myriads of theses have been written about this topic. It’s a seeming flaw in the Christian belief that God loves us and wants the best for us all. Is it really? So, why would he allow us to suffer?
If everything was perfect, would we learn anything? If you didn’t experience all the hurtful things that you did, would you be the strong person that you are now? Would you learn how to deal with difficult people or how to protect yourself from the harsh truths in this world?
Without a theological background, I have no concrete answers. What I know is God’s character. He loves us. He cares for each and everyone of us. He gave us the freedom to choose what paths to take and actions to make, because love must be given freely. We have the choice to love Him, because He didn’t want robots that follow His every command. Unfortunately, this also means we have the option to reject His love and live according to our own ways.
We live in a broken world, with broken people. There is evil all around us, and God probably has a good reason why He doesn’t make it all magically disappear.
I have known pain and suffering as early as I can remember. I have experienced the most horrible form of betrayal there could possibly be, to be hurt by people who were supposed to love and protect me. It has been such a long process, but I have started to realize the importance of my experiences and how it contributes to who I am now today. I strive to make a difference, to let people know that there is light in the darkness.
I can never fully explain why some have to suffer horrendous situations like I did, but I take assurance in knowing that I can rely on our loving Father’s plans.
As the Voyage of the Dawn Treader puts it, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”
Could it be that the God in heaven knows so much more than we do? That He can see the bigger picture? That He knows what will happen and what’s good for us in the long run? Could it be that He is protecting us? Or making us stronger?
Pain molds our character. It helps us understand others better. It builds our empathy and compassion. Suffering is an indication that this is not how things are meant to be. We’re not supposed to live miserably. We were meant for greatness, to share in the purest form of joy and love. We were meant to be with our perfect Father.
A father can endure seeing his son writhe in pain as the doctor pierces his small body with shots that would protect him from sickness. Why? Because it’s what’s best for him. It protects him. The child may never fully understand why his loving dad would allow the bad doctor to hurt his arms. If he knows his father well enough, he would trust that he won’t do anything to really hurt him. He would trust in his father’s love.
God is no stranger to pain, sacrificing His only Son to be crucified on the cross in the most undignified way possible. Jesus suffered Himself, and He knows how it feels to be rejected, ridiculed, and unloved. If there is anyone who can understand what you’re going through, it would be Him.
Where is God in the midst of our suffering?
I see Him weeping for his dear children, ready to listen when you cry out for help. I see Him allowing things to happen for reasons that may never be fathomable for our limited understanding.
I see him right there with you, holding you tight in His arms.
Do you trust in God’s divine plans in the midst of your pain?