Why Suffering?

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Most of us have asked at one time or another: “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

This question has many shapes and maybe you’ve asked it in other forms.

  • “Why is this happening to me God?”
  • “Why did SHE get cancer?”
  • “I did everything right; how could this be?”

It’s one of the most common questions asked not only by believers but by unbelievers.

“If God exists how come there is hunger, disease, and suffering?”

It’s hard to wrap our mind around such questions and provide an adequate answer to others or ourselves. In fact, there will be many times we just won’t know the answer. But to help mitigate and provide some understanding this week, we will examine some common reasons as to why suffering exists.

What you need to know today, however, is one thing that provides a foundation for all the answers to all your questions regarding suffering: God’s original design was good and operated without suffering. It wasn’t until sin entered the equation that suffering did as well. And since God cannot sin, nor does he tempt anyone, suffering is not His original design for your life. In fact, as James declares, every good thing comes from Him.

Suffering is a by-product of the sins of man; every good thing is from God. Although bad things may happen God will find a way to use it for His glory.

We are going to explore over the next few weeks some reasons why God allows suffering for His use, and what our response should be towards it. Today, remember this:

Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
— James 1:13-18