Why suffering?

A question often raised is why would a loving God allow such evil and suffering in the world? Another issue which is more close to home are feelings of inadequacy. Why do we so often feel that we are not good enough and let others down?

There is a link between these two question. No doubt, God could deal with all the suffering and evil in the world. In fact, he has promised that he will do that one day. But the question is what or who would he need to fix to do that?

Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who spent 8 years in labour camps during the second world war, wrote “The battle line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man.”

The idea that there are good people and evil people is simply not true. Although we each like to portray ourselves as good, if we are honest we each have things that we are deeply ashamed of. The Bible puts this even more clearly:

Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

So nobody is perfect – except God of course! And that is the problem, God is perfect. We are designed to reflect God’s goodness and we fall far short of that. Our sin is part of the problem in this world.

King David from the Bible was very aware of his own failures and he wrote a song in which he cries out to God for help and forgiveness. It begins like this:

Psalm 40

I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

You cannot lift someone out of a slimy pit without getting messy yourself. That is what Jesus did for us. Jesus not only came to earth, but he also died in our place so that the punishment for our sin could be fully paid.

If you accept Jesus, your sins are no longer counted against you and you are completely forgiven. He gives you a firm place to stand, and to walk, and to run for God.

After Jesus was crucified his body was placed into a tomb for burial. Three days later that tomb was found to be empty and then Jesus was seen alive by many people. Finally, Jesus was seen to go up into the sky, and he is now alive in heaven where he prays for his people.

Jesus does not promise to take away all our suffering in this life, but he does promise to be with us at all times and to help us. Jesus is alive today and you can pray to him at any moment of every day.

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