If God loves us, why is there suffering? We here this question a lot nowadays and sometimes it can influence a person’s faith negatively. Often times this question is considered also, ‘How can a loving God let his children suffer?’ It seems that suffering has become more common today, but the fact is it hasn’t. Suffering has been here since creation and it didn’t just start 10, 20, or 30 years ago. So that question has always been around, just maybe at certain points in time not as popular. The answer to these questions is this: God loves us that much to put us through tough times. To many, this answer may seem unappealing. They don’t want to serve a God that makes them suffer! Well the fact is, God doesn’t make us suffer, he allows it. And we have Scripture to prove why it is better to suffer now, than for eternity.
First we must point out the fact that life is in some cases a test. Why would it be a test, you might ask? For Christians we need to make sure we are worthy of eternal life. Staying faithful to God in and through all things. Making sure we serve Him and love Him until death takes us over. Before we go any further, let us discuss what a “test” is for just a moment. Does a ‘test’ last forever? On this earth, no. But we are being tested for something, and in our case we’re being tested for whatever God wants to see. But don’t forget testing is not the same as tempting, they cannot be used interchangeably. God tests us to see what the outcome of our actions will be, not to tempt us in one way or the other. 1 Chronicles 29:17 says, “I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.” “What’s the point of life then, if it’s all one big test?” one might ask. Well this physical temporal life can be proof as to whether or not we live peacefully or suffer eternally. Some might think that if we suffer here, then we suffer for eternity, and Scripture makes it very clear that that’s just not the case. When we suffer in this life, and we hold strong to God, we will be rewarded for eternity in heaven. Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” What happens in this life is not a reflection of what is going to happen in the next. It’s what we make of this life, the deeds that we do determines our spiritual life.
But don’t think I am saying that life is one big test, and that’s how we should look at it. But it helps to think about it that way sometimes because in reality it is. God tested Abraham and Job, he has tested and continues to today. But what about those who suffer or die innocently? It seems only the innocent suffer from natural disasters, shootings, terrorists, and everything else that happens here. Why do the good suffer for doing good? It can be sometimes confusing as to why it happens. But we should never blame God for the bad things that happen. God doesn’t “make” suffering come upon us, he “allows” it. It’s called free-will. Things just happen naturally, and most of the time it’s not some all-powerful being causing it to occur. Otherwise that’s called a miracle. But the most important part of our suffering is to realize that they only last a little while, compared to eternity. Compared to eternity, you wouldn’t even remember the sufferings of this life. Just as Romans 8:18 tells us, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Heaven is not worth comparing to the sufferings of this life because heaven is eternal, sufferings are not. But while the evil flourish on this earth, they have received their reward. Jesus while teaching on the mount, tells the people not to be like the hypocrites who publicly announce everything they do just to be seen and recognized by men. Jesus tells them they have received their reward in full (Matthew 6:2).
Another thing about suffering is the rejoicing. Rejoicing? How can we rejoice when we suffer trials? Well it’s what we are called to do, James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” It’s hard to do but it should be a joyful time because we are suffering for Christ, just as he did for us. When we are persecuted for Christ, rejoice just as the apostles did in Acts 5:41, “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” Even if we suffer not for his name, pray that he may help you through it. He will give you a reward far better than anything we can comprehend or imagine.
So a simple answer as to why there is suffering, free-will. Also that God will give us a reward for what we suffer, an eternal reward. The answer to the question, “If God loves us, why is there suffering?” Is this, God loves us so much that he would give us an eternal reward for a short time suffering.