Why suffering?

Question:

Why does God allow suffering? Doesn’t He care about us?

Answer:

God certainly does care! The Bible tells us, “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to 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.”2 He certainly knows what it’s like to suffer, because He was crucified for the sins of the world.

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 will be no more death or sorrow or pain or crying, because the former things have passed away.”3

In the meantime, we have God’s promises of Romans 8:28 that He will work all the things that we face and experience in life for our good in some way. Sorrow, sacrifice, and sadness can bring out the best in us, such as love, empathy, and concern for others. The Bible says, “We comfort others with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”4 If we have found God’s love in Jesus, it gives us the desire to share that answer and love with others, so He can ease their sufferings and help them solve their problems too.

Though we can understand many of the reasons for suffering through reading God’s Word, we probably 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.5

The Bible tells us, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”6 With time our suffering takes on a new perspective. Through it we become a little wiser and a little more compassionate toward others who are suffering.

God has a purpose for everything He allows to happen to us, even though we may not always see it right away. We just have to trust God that if we don’t understand now, we will later. And despite our limited knowledge and understanding of some things, there is one thing we can be sure of, and that is His unfailing love.

We will at times be in pain or grieve, but thank God, we are never left hopeless and helpless. “For 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.”7

  1. Psalm 103:13–14 ESV
  2. Hebrews 4:15 NIV
  3. Revelation 21:4 ESV
  4. 2 Corinthians 1:4
  5. Isaiah 55:8–9
  6. Psalm 30:5
  7. Romans 8:38–39