I’ve been talking with someone for a while now about why God allows pain and suffering in our lives. They just can’t understand why some people (some “good” people) have to endure so much hardships. Which is a question that I think, at some point in time, we all have had. My answer to this person was this: God doesn’t make bad things happen to good people….. people do that. In most cases, we bring on our own pain….not always, but for the most part. Sometimes it is out of our control such as natural disasters and such. But God doesn’t sit around planning bad things to rain down on our lives. That’s not who He is and that’s not what He does. We are His creation and He loves us….. He loves us so much that He sent His only Son to earth to die a horrible death just so we could become His children. Would you be willing to send your only child to death for the people in this world? I don’t think I could. But, God did! In my opinion, I believe that we are put in certain situations for our own growth. Imagine this: What if you never experienced pain, or suffering? Would you still pray? Would you still read your Bible? Would you still attend church? If your days were only sunny, would you need God? Would having only sunny days keep you in a season of only looking at your own life and not the lives of others? Would you forget about those who are suffering because your life is always happy? How could you know what they are going through if you hadn’t went through it yourself? How could you help them if you didn’t have any idea of what pain and suffering felt like?
When things are going good, we tend to forget God. And when things are going bad, we tend to blame God.
God can use us in our broken-ness. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Paul writes, “Praise be to God . . . the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” Sometimes the very reason pain has been allowed into our lives is so that we can be more effective in our ministry to others.
Consider this: Can she who has never felt rejection and isolation understand the plight of a woman who battles depression and loneliness? Can he who has never lost a loved one empathize with a man who has just lost his father? Can she who has never known the pain of unrequited love minister to the teenager whose love interest has chosen someone else for a prom date? Can he who has never battled cancer connect with the friend/loved one who is battling it now? Can the mother who has never lost a child minister and give hope to the mother who is grieving the death of her own baby? Can the family who has never survived a natural disaster reach out in love to the family whose home just got destroyed by a tornado?
God’s purposes in allowing pain in our lives are multi-faceted. Not only does He teach us about His love and faithfulness amidst our times of sorrow, but after our grieving has ended, He gives us strength to offer words of hope to others who are experiencing similar trials. 1 Peter 5:9 says, ” . . . Your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” So, we serve as both a support base and a hope for those who are walking through difficult situations proving that with God’s help even seemingly insurmountable obstacles can be overcome.
God doesn’t delight in our suffering….No way! He delights in our obedience and our love for others during their trials. If you are struggling with pain or trying to figure out why bad things happen to good people, take comfort in the fact that God has your situation as well as you in the palm of His hands. He will not let you go, and He will not let you down. A final word of hope can be found in I Peter 5:10, “And the God of all grace, who called you . . . , after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.” Take heart, the pain you experience today may be your platform for ministry tomorrow.