This is the ten million dollar question, and one that is used by many atheists to “prove” that their is no God. They question how a loving God could allow the pain and suffering that we see on the earth. How do we Christians respond when a non-believer asks us this question? The atheist simply believes that “stuff happens”, and that there is no reason at all for suffering and nothing good comes out of it. So then how do they cope with the suffering that will almost assuredly come in their life at some point or another?

Thankfully, the truth is, there is a God, and there is a reason for our suffering.  God’s people do NOT suffer in vain! God is still LOVE! Our SUFFERING does NOT nullify GOD’S LOVE for US!

God is Good. God is Love. God is Righteous, but also merciful and Just. God is Pure Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. This is our God, our Elohim who exists as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God exists as a community because He IS Love. It’s not that He HAS Love, but God IS LOVE. Love requires a subject and an object, one to love and one to be loved, and of course, the love feeling that is between them, three in one, LOVE. Yes, there is suffering in the world, but that doesn’t change the fact that GOD IS LOVE and HE LOVES US!

The truth is that mankind was NOT created to suffer. In the Garden of Eden, there was no suffering, sickness, pain or death. Mankind was originally created in a covering of Light, and our bodies were not subject to decay. This is because there was no sin in the world!

The Garden of Eden..a perfect place with no suffering, sickness, pain or death

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The original Hebrew word for ‘pleasure’ is ‘Ednah’ {עדנה} – which comes from the same root as ‘Eden.’ 

Moreover, the Hebrew word for ‘delicate’ is ‘Me’udan’ {מעודן} – which comes from the same root as well.  The initial Latin meaning of ‘delicate’ (‘delicatus’ in Latin) is ‘something that gives pleasure’ (compare with ‘delicious’ – food that is so tasty it gives one pleasure).

This is why it is no surprise to discover the Hebrew term for ‘Heaven’ or ‘Paradise’ is in fact ‘Gan Eden’ {גן עדן} – meaning the Garden of Eden…

Suffering, sickness, pain and death is the result of sin.

Image result for Christian All humanity under the death penalty

Sin entered the world when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and took a bite of the nasty fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This began mankind’s descent into sin, sickness, suffering, and death. Since that day, everyone who is conceived and born onto this earth is born in sin. It’s a sad reality, a condition of the Fall of man. There is sin embedded in our flesh, and therefore there is sickness, suffering, and death. This affects not only adults, but also unborn and small children, animals, plants, and everything that lives on the earth. The Bible states that even the animals and the earth itself suffer because of mankind’s sin.

Psalm 51:5:  Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.

Romans 3:10:  as it is written,“There is none righteous, not even one;

Romans 5:19 – For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Genesis 3:17 : Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;And you will eat the plants of the field;

Hosea 4:2:
There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing and adultery.
They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed.

3 Therefore the land mourns, And everyone who lives in it languishes Along with the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky, And also the fish of the sea disappear.

With sin, comes the death penalty. This is just the sad and depressing truth. But the GOOD NEWS is that Jesus PAID that penalty for us so that we could LIVE!

GOOD NEWS….Jesus paid the penalty!

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John 3:16 “For God so LOVED the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

The BEST NEWS EVER is that Jesus Christ LOVED us so much that He took upon Himself our sins, nailed them to a Cross, through His own SUFFERING, PAIN AND DEATH paying the price that we all owe!!! This means that all those who believe in the Name of Jesus won’t really die, but will simply “fall asleep” and wake up in Heaven (1 Thess. 4:13). Because of our sin and rebellion, we still have to bear the pain and suffering of the physical death; however, we KNOW that the earth is NOT our final destination! Heaven is our TRUE HOME and Jesus made a way for us to go there after we leave this earth!!! Hallelujah!

Still, while we live on earth in this flesh, we have to suffer the consequences of our sin, but Jesus Christ gives us hope for a new tomorrow. Jesus shows us that there is a lot more to life than what we can see with our eyes. Yes, it is horrible to watch a small child or a loved one suffer and die, I can’t imagine anything worse! But we BELIEVE that Jesus collects them and takes them to be with Him in Paradise where it is beautiful, and they can run, laugh, and play, where they are not hampered with the physical pain and suffering that they experienced on earth! Heaven is REAL! No matter how much we love our children no matter how much we love our family, Jesus loves them MORE than we do because they really belong to Him! Physical death is not the end! For those who believe in Jesus, there will be a great family reunion where everything that was “stolen” from us, by the enemy, will be restored…and then some!

Revelation 7:9: After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,

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Matthew 19:14: But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

Is there a purpose for our suffering?

We understand that suffering is the consequence of sin, but can anything good come from it? Yes!! When we believe in Jesus Christ, our Creator, we do not suffer in vain. Jesus could easily “warp” us out of the suffering, and grant us all lives on “easy street”, but if He did that, we would learn nothing. If you talk to an older Christian, they would likely tell you that their greatest spiritual growth occurred during the darkest times of their lives. The sad reality of our human nature reveals that it’s only when everything else has been stripped away that we can truly begin to rely and trust in Jesus. Jesus uses the trials in our lives as a refining fire. You are God’s Masterpiece, a work of Art!

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Gold is unearthed dirty, dingy, still valuable, but not visually appealing. A gold refiner knows how to remove the impurities and achieve a product that is beautiful and priceless. First, place the gold ore in a crucible. Put the crucible in a furnace. Heat to 1,100 degrees Celsius. Dross will rise to the surface. Periodically remove the crucible from the furnace and skim the impurities off the surface of the molten gold. Stir the gold after each removal of dross and before returning it to the furnace. Repeat this process until dross stops rising to the surface.   What you are left with…pure, dazzling, beautiful gold!

The refining process
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Our Father is a master refiner. He turns up the heat in our lives to drive the impurities to the surface so that He can skim them off creating a finished product that is shiny, beautiful, priceless.

Romans 5:3:
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseveranceand perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hopeand hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 8:18: I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Romans 8:28:  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Trials are painful, difficult, never fun; however, we can see from God’s Word that they are often necessary to mold, shape, and change us into something that looks more like Jesus Christ, our Savior. If we can stand firm in the faith, even under the pressure of a trial (be it health/ finances/family issues/ victim of a crime, death of a loved one, divorce, etc), then we will receive the crown of Life. We will be rewarded for our perseverance under pressure.

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1 Peter 1: 6-7: In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

I walked a mile with pleasure

I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When sorrow walked with me.

-Robert Browning Hamilton

Jesus is with us in the storms

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God does not ask us to stand through the storms…alone. God gives us promises in His Word that He will stay with us. He will help us. He will not abandon us. He will guide us, strengthen us, protect us, and give us everything we need to stand through the trials in our lives and come out victorious.  

Deuteronomy 31:6: Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with youHe will not fail you or forsake you.”

Hebrews 13: 5: Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.
What will man do to me?”

Can Jesus remove a trial?

Never underestimate the power and mercy of God! Although Jesus does allow painful trials in our lives, it is ALWAYS good to go to Him in prayer and faith and ask for help, relief, healing, or even to have the trial taken away. God can and does still grant Miracles in people’s lives. In fact, there is a precedent for this in Scripture when Jesus heals a blind man. Jesus tells His Disciples that this man was born blind so that the works of God might be displayed in him! It’s always possible that a trial is allowed in our life simply so that God can perform a Miracle and by so doing, draw more people into His Kingdom!

John 9:  As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

It’s all about perspective

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If we can somehow view our current lives on earth through an “eternal lens”, we will see that this life is very temporary, almost like a training ground for our ultimate destination. The GOAL is Heaven, the Kingdom of God, a very real place like the Garden of Eden, in which there is no more sickness, pain or death. The Bible states that we can’t even imagine the good things that God has prepared for those who love Him! Those who weather the storms of life while continuing to praise the Name of Jesus will receive incredible rewards in Heaven!

1 Corinthians 2:9  but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

The suffering on earth will not continue forever

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Finally, God will not allow the suffering on earth to continue forever. This age of man, which can also be called the age of suffering and death, has an expiration date. There is coming a day in the not too distant future when God will restore the earth to something that is even greater, even more beautiful than the original Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden was a beautiful place, but the Kingdom of God is even more beautiful, perhaps because those who reside in the Kingdom of God have been tried, tested, they have suffered, and they have stood the test of time.

Revelation 21: 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

5: And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”