Why Is There Suffering?
Today, in our fourth message in the GodQuest series, we are going to be looking at the question “Why Is There Suffering?” We are bombarded with stories of suffering every day in the news. Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods make their share of pain and suffering. Wars, murders, drugs and other crimes are all around us every day. Health problems, diseases, aging and mental illness cause suffering for many that we know.
Sometimes, we ask the question Why? Somewhere deep inside, we feel that all is not right with the world in which we live. Somehow we know that this world wasn’t created to see so much pain and suffering. Oftentimes the innocent suffer, especially children and we just know that’s not right.
Oftentimes when people think about the question of why there is evil, pain and suffering, they are led to this argument about God. If God is all-powerful then He could eliminate pain and suffering. If God is all good, then He would want to eliminate pain and suffering. Since evil, pain and suffering exist, then either God is not all-powerful or not good. If God is not all-powerful or is not all-good, then He is not really God.
How would you answer those questions if someone asked you? Or maybe you’ve had those questions yourself and they’ve never been answered. If someone has those kinds of unanswered questions, they will have doubts about the God of the Bible, who is described as being all-good and all-powerful. Is it wrong to ask questions? Is it wrong to have doubts? No, it’s not wrong to ask questions or have doubts. As long as you are genuinely seeking to find the answers, God will help you find them.
Acts 17:11 (NIV) Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
The people of Berea were listening to the apostle Paul bring teaching about God, but they had some questions, they had some doubts if what he was saying was true. So, what did they do? They examined the Bible to see if what Paul said lined up with the Word of God. Luke, the writer of Acts commends the Bereans as being of noble character, because they sought God’s Word to find answers to their questions.
Today, I want to give you a biblical framework to deal with the question of how a good God could allow suffering in the world. This is an incredibly important question, because there are many people who once believed, who have turned their backs on God because they or someone they loved encountered suffering they couldn’t explain. Many people end up blaming God. They say, since God is all-powerful, He could have prevented this suffering. Since He didn’t, He isn’t good and I want nothing more to do with Him.
But the Bible teaches us that God is indeed all good and He is all powerful, so Why is There evil, pain and suffering the world around us?
Listen to or watch my October 23, 2011 message Why Is There Suffering?