God and Suffering

Suffering is not God’s desire for us, but it occurs in the process of life. Suffering is not given to teach us something, but through it we may learn. Suffering is not given to punish us, but sometimes it is the consequence of our sin or poor judgment. Suffering does not occur because our faith is weak, but through it our faith may be strengthened. God does not depend on human suffering to achieve his purposes, but sometimes through suffering his purposes are achieved. Suffering can either destroy us, or it can add meaning to our life.

(Original quote by Ray Firestone, as recounted in a sermon by Adam Hamilton)

The age-old question of “where is God in our suffering?” will likely never go away. We need to find reasons for events, and we need culprits for bad ones. We try to rely on reason to explain life, but reason leaves us empty sometimes. People of faith (and non-faith) sincerely question God’s role in suffering.

We know that it is not simple cause and effect. Our social economy says that bad people should suffer, good people should not. When that equation does not work, we are troubled and often angry. Then we might question how God could allow suffering.

I like the quote above because it does set forth some principles that are, I believe, true. When we are suffering, we look for some explanation. At some point, we just settle for truth.

Prayer: Lord, we trust in you even, maybe especially, when we do not understand our circumstances. Thank you for your provision and love for us, Amen.

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