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How Does God Respond to Suffering?

The good news is that God does not leave the people he created alone in the midst of pain and suffering. God is the answer to the problem of evil. The existence of evil should not turn us away from God; instead, it should make us turn toward him. And it should do so for several reasons.

Firstly, God is the greatest victim of evil. Even though suffering is bad, God chose to experience it Himself. God came and experienced our suffering with us when Jesus came to earth. Dorothy Sayers wrote: 

“For whatever reason God chose to make man as He is—limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death—He had the honesty and courage to take His own medicine […]. He has Himself gone through the whole of human experience, from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair, and death. When He was a man, He played the man. He was born in poverty and died in disgrace, and thought it well worthwhile.” 

God does not prevent suffering, but He is with people and for people in their suffering. 

Secondly, since God has given humans free choice, it becomes our responsibility to stop evil in this world. One day, I got upset with God and shook my fist at him and said, “The world needs you. Can’t you see the hurting, the dying, the poor, and the lost? The world needs you!” God spoke back to me in a quiet whisper, “Daniel, the world needs you.” Part of God’s answer to the pain in this world is for people to help alleviate that pain. That’s why I’m an evangelist, and why the ministry I lead has given away 270,000 meals to the children of Belize, dug water wells for villages in India, and works to convince people to live their lives by faith in Jesus. By living godly lives, we can cure some of the evil in this world. 

Thirdly, while we may not be able to solve all evils in this life, the problem of evil will be solved completely in the next life. God’s viewpoint is eternal, to Him, evil is but a small blip on the timeline of forever. Evil may be a problem for us, but evil is not a problem for God, because He knows the ultimate end of evil and the sad end of every evil doer: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5.10 NIV).

Finally, God will ultimately bring good out of every situation. Romans 8:28 says,“All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Even as we suffer, God is working to bring about ultimate good. Ecclesiastes 3.11 says, [God] has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” From our finite position it might be difficult to see all the good that God is doing, but the truth is that God is at work, and He knows how to turn our suffering into rejoicing. 

Yes, God cares!

Christians know that a good God exists. Christians aren’t Christians because they are good, they are Christians because they are honest about the existence of evil. Evil will continue to grip the heart of humankind until we have an encounter with God’s goodness. Popular culture dishonestly claims that people are basically good. Christians, however, acknowledge the truth: God is good and sinful people are desperately in need of Him to save them from the terrible consequences of their endlessly selfish choices. 

Consider this: If God did not care for people, He would not save them. God saves people from sin through his Son, Jesus Christ who died on the cross. Therefore: God CARES! 

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About the Author:  Dr. Daniel King is a missionary evangelist who has traveled to over seventy nations in his quest for souls. His goal is to lead 1,000,000 people to Jesus every year through massive Gospel Festivals, distribution of literature, and leadership training. Because of his experience and research on evangelism, he is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading experts in mass evangelism. As an evangelist, he has a deep interest in using apologetics to convince skeptics that God is real.

Proof God is Real