The problem of suffering has snuffed out the spiritual life of untold millions of people who truly wanted to believe in God, but concluded that it was futile because of the existence of so much suffering in our world. As one who has experienced some suffering and witnessed an enormous amount over a lifetime, I want to speak to this issue. There are three important truths to get your mind around in order to even begin to look at the problem of suffering. 1. ALL SUFFERING IS RELATED TO SIN. We simply must realize that we are fallen creatures in a fallen world. The impact of sin on this world is far greater than any of us can imagine. Paul says in Romans 8:22 “The whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth . . .” He continues to speak in the passage of the coming redemption for the created order itself.
2. SOME SUFFERING IS RELATED TO SPECIFIC SIN. God has long ago determined to grant all of mankind a choice between good and evil. When evil choices are made. Evil consequences follow.
3. NOT ALL SUFFERING IS RELATED TO A SPECIFIC SIN. The one in the best position to see if their suffering is the result of their own choice or the choice of another is the person at the center of a trial. We need to be careful about attaching blame to those who suffer. Jesus made this obvious in the ninth chapter of John with the healing of a man who was born blind.
Once these things have been established, we need to realize that suffering is often the cause of our turning away from sinful pride and casting ourselves on the mercy and grace of God. God is grieved by our suffering, but he can bring redemption and purpose to the worst of circumstances. (Romans 8:28) The history of the Christian faith is filled with the story of trials and tribulations that have been turned into triumphs because someone turned to God in the midst of their suffering. Never forget that the Cross was a terrible act perpetrated by evil men and a tyrannical government. From heaven’s view, the cross was the turning point from which God would one day “wipe every tear from our eyes.” (Rev. 7:17)