Question: Why does God allow suffering? Doesn’t He care about us?
Answer: God certainly does care! It grieves Him to see us suffer. The Bible tells us, “As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear [reverence] Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.”1
Jesus, too, can sympathize with our weaknesses, because He was “tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.”2 He certainly knows what it’s like to suffer, because He was tortured and then crucified for the sins of all humankind.
Also, the Bible promises that someday all the suffering will come to an end for those who love God. In heaven, God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”3
In the meantime, God has a purpose for everything He allows to happen to us, even though we may not always see it right away. For example, difficult times can often bring out sweetness and goodness in people. For those who do not allow themselves to become embittered or hardened by them, sorrow, sacrifice, and sadness can bring out the good things: love, tenderness, and concern for others. If we have found God’s love in Jesus, we’ll want to share that answer and that love with others, so He can ease their sufferings and help them through difficult times too.
Though we can understand many of the reasons for suffering through reading God’s Word, we won’t know all the answers to this persistent question until we get to heaven. God’s ways are not our ways, and there are some things we won’t understand until we see things as God sees them.4
The Bible also tells us, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”5 With time we can view our suffering with a new perspective. Through it, we can become wiser and more compassionate toward others who are suffering.
And despite our limited knowledge and understanding of these deeper questions of life, there is one thing we can be sure of, and that is God’s unfailing love. We will at times be in pain or grieve, but we are not left hopeless and helpless. “I am persuaded that neither death nor life, … nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.”6
- Psalm 103:13–14
- Hebrews 4:15 NIV
- Revelation 21:4
- See Isaiah 55:8–9.
- Psalm 30:5
- Romans 8:38–39