Continued from here.
If God is good and is in control, why do children suffer and die? Why do natural disasters take people’s lives? Why do we have disease … and illness … and injury? As an abused child, my version of this question was, “Why does God allow child abuse?” All of these questions are really asking the same thing: “If God is in control and is good, why do bad things happen?”
The short answer I received to this question is that this is not heaven. Our souls were built for eternity in heaven with God, so living in this fallen world feels foreign … and just plain wrong!
God did not intend for the world to be like this – filled with so much suffering. God placed Adam in charge of the earth , Adam gave the reins to Satan, and then Satan became the prince of this world. When Jesus conquered Satan through the resurrection, death was overcome, but we are still stuck living in this fallen world for the time being, which means that we are going to experience suffering. It’s not just a possibility – suffering is an inevitability.
Here’s the good news, though. Jesus said,
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33
Sadly, many well-meaning people perpetuate the lie that if we are “good enough,” believe in God enough, or “avoid doing bad” often enough, then we will be spared pain and suffering, but that simply is not Biblical. Jesus was clear that in this world, we will have trouble. Suffering in this lifetime is a certainty. Thankfully, God transforms our suffering into perseverance, which leads to maturity and completeness in Him. God is the master of working all things for good, even our suffering.
While it’s disheartening to accept the reality that this life, by definition, includes suffering, embracing this truth releases us from the unrealistic expectations of having an easy/comfortable life. That’s not going to happen, so let go of that pipe dream. Instead, turn your inevitable suffering into perseverance. This will lead you to maturity and completeness, and then you will cooperate with God in turning the lemons of suffering into sweet lemonade that blesses everyone you come into contact with.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace cross-eyed under the word, “Fail.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]