Thinking through Suffering in Advance
Why is there suffering in the world?
When a tsunami or earthquake hits and thousands die, we wonder, “Why?” When terrorists attack the World Trade Center and thousands die, we wonder, “Why?”
A Christian friend gets cancer, and we wonder, “Why?” A child is born with a disability, and we wonder, “Why?” A young man is killed in an automobile accident and we wonder, “Why?”
A Barna poll asked, “If you could ask God one question, and you knew He would give you an answer, what would you ask?” The most common response was, “Why is there pain and suffering in the world?”
The problem of pain
If you are sharing the gospel with someone, it won’t be long before they ask, “How could a God of love allow tragedy, pain, and suffering?”
C.S. Lewis said that “the problem of pain is atheism’s most potent weapon against the Christian faith.” More people point to the problem of evil and suffering as their reason for not believing in God than any other.
It is not merely a problem, it is the problem.
So why doesn’t God just end all evil and suffering now?
Shayna framed the question this way on my Facebook page: “Did God create evil? God created Lucifer and he fell, thus creating evil. However, if God is all knowing, then He knew we would fall, thus creating evil. But then the question may be, ‘Is evil an attribute of God?’”
The Bible has answers
In his book, If God Is Good, Randy Alcorn writes:
"Most of us don’t give focused thought to evil and suffering until we experience them. This forces us to formulate perspective on the fly, at a time when our thinking is muddled and we’re exhausted and consumed by pressing issues. People who have “been there” will attest that it’s far better to think through suffering in advance.”
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