Who is Responsible for Suffering?

by Richard Mansel
grieving-man33.pngSuffering has touched all of our lives and often in unalterable ways. We mourn for the loss of our loved ones. We mourn for lost moments and stolen memories.
Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross writes that the second stage of grief is anger. We direct that anger at whomever is responsible. Having no one, God is most often blamed. Leslie Weatherford writes, “People get a lot of comfort from supposing that their tragedies are the will of God. One can bear a thing if it is God’s will. It is hard to bear if it is a ghastly mistake and not the will of God.”
God created us in a world without sin and suffering. God’s love for man led Him to allow us freewill, which Adam and Eve utilized and brought sin into the world (Romans 5:12). When sin arrived, suffering and death became almost constant companions.
Dr. Richard Rice said, “God maintains ultimate sovereignty over history. But he does not exercise absolute control.” God limits Himself in areas that would violate our freewill. When we suffer from sin, God allows us to deal with the consequences, despite doing so with a heavy heart.
We suffer because of our own actions, the actions of others, because of our mortality, and because of the natural course of the world. Hebrews 9:27 says it is appointed that we will die. Even if we are alive when Christ returns, we will be changed (1 Corinthians 15:51,52).
God set in motion weather patterns which produce good and bad weather and maintain the existence of our world. God allows microorganisms which serve the necessary functions of breaking down waste, disposing of dead animals and building our immune systems. At the same time, they also produce disease. Disease and death exist because our time here in this life is temporary (James 4:14).
We hate the evil, death and suffering of this world. Yet, we enjoy freewill, weather, mobility and technology. All of these produce extraordinary opportunities and blessings despite their dangers. Understanding the big picture, we see that the positives far outweigh the negatives.
God knows we suffer because He has seen it for thousands of years. He also knows because His Son suffered. Jesus lost earthly family members and friends. He grieved just as we do and begged that His own horrific death be removed from His future (Luke 22:39-46). Yet, He yielded to God’s plan as we must also yield to the realities around us.
God suffered when His Son died and He suffers when our loved ones die. We know because He loves all of us. As His children, we know the undeniable love God has for us.
God has provided prayer, Scripture, fellowship of the saints and His presence for peace, comfort and strength (Revelation 21:4; Galatians 6:2). He provides ways to endure and the hope of heaven – a place where suffering and death will have been destroyed.
Remember, God is not responsible for suffering. Sin brought suffering into this world. Satan should bear the blame as he is the evil one. To blame God for evil is to blaspheme His name and nature. He is incapable of evil. God does not take our loved ones.
He sent His Son to overcome death. We also now have victory over death. We will rise again. We can go and be in heaven and shed the pain and suffering of this cruel world (John 14:1-6; Revelation 21:3ff). We can be reunited with loved ones and relax in pure safety and bliss

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Richard lives in Florence, Alabama and is married to Deirdre. They have three daughters. He is an avid reader, devoted writer and lover of history and research. He is the author of "The Most Important Question" and is working on more books.

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