Why Suffering?

As I have been reading through “The Brothers Karamazov” I have been wrestling with the topic of suffering.  Now the topic of suffering is immense and the questions pile up very quickly the more one examines all the different angles of suffering.

I am going to do a series of blogposts on suffering starting with the why.

Going to the beginning we see in creation that God made everything very good and in harmony with himself.  In our rebellion against him we fractured that relationship with God and humanity was broken, along with the world we live in.  The Christian must go back to the fall to understand what there is suffering.  That at the fall humans chose to rebel against their Creator for the idol of self-deity.

Along with that rebellion all of nature also fell out of accord with its maker. Romans tells us that all of creation yearns for the time of redemption when God will restore the natural world to its rightful and perfect state.  Just like us, creation is in need of being made whole.

Therefore suffering finds its origins in humanity willfully sinning against God and leaving us broken.

And as the old saying goes; hurt people hurt people.  All of us are broken and with our free will continue to hurt others as we have been hurt as well.  Suffering comes from our sinful hearts, from a nature that is still in rebellion to God and choosing to surpress the truth in our evilness.

This is what makes it ironic when humans query why God allows suffering, for if he were to eliminate it, it would be the end of us.  Evil which causes suffering is not “out there” or a karmic force of some kind, rather it is the nature of our hearts.  For God to do away with it would result in the death of all of us.

This is why the Christian God is one of unimaginable mercy and kindness.  He is slow to anger and quick to love.  He patiently waits for us to turn to Jesus and be given a new heart and nature, and the grace for our evil we do not deserve.  For rather than choosing to stamp all evil which results in suffering, God has chosen to offer redemption to us sinners with wickedness finding its fount in our fallen nature.

May you dwell in the grace and mercy of God that he has chosen not to eradicate evil instantaneously, and that our suffering is rooted not in God’s apathy toward our pain, but instead in his willingness to offer us new life through the blood of Christ.



2 Responses

  1. I have been going through some sermons by Mark Driscoll, Francis Chan and Matt Chandler. All of them have had something to do with suffering. I have also had recent events in my life that have had me asking the age old question of “why?”. However, the messages by these pastors has been one of suffering well and has helped to show me that sometimes it is the trial and the suffering itself that is the blessing and not just the escape so longed for. So, I continue to walk in peace as the world falls down around me. It is a developed distinction between Joy vs. Happiness that has been the outcome of this trial and to know the difference has made all the difference in the world.

  2. Thanks for sharing this Chris. Your comments are always encouraging to me. I will give you a call tomorrow and I hope you and your wonderful family are doing well.

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