When we suffer or see someone we care about suffering with life or an illness, or if we are feeling like everything is going wrong in the world or in our own life, it can make us question why and ask where is God!?
For many centuries people have been trying to understand why a loving God allows suffering – why doesn’t God stop all suffering and evil and hard times that people have to go through. Many people struggle with these questions, there isn’t anything that guarantees we won’t suffer and struggle to keep going.
Does suffering prove God doesn't exist?
The fact that evil and suffering exist in the world doesn’t mean that a loving God can’t be real – the same logic used the other way around would say that if there is any goodness in the world then a loving God must exist.
What we can see is that God normally allows natural consequences to happen – e.g. if someone nearby decided to be nasty and cruel to us, God doesn’t just jump in to the situation and cause their mouth to close and force their hands behind their back! When someone chooses to act in a sinful way, people around them experience the consequences of that, and often there is also a ripple effect with others around them being effected too. If God was to get rid of everyone in the world that ever did anything wrong, he would have to get rid of us all! If God was to allow all actions to have no consequences then people would do all manner of bad things to each other.
The same is true about sickness, disease, viruses and natural disasters - these are simply the natural consequences of a world that is no longer perfect but is falling apart. Our world has many great things about it but it is also a place where natural bad things happen and sometimes those natural things have a big effect on us all.
Don't give up!
Struggles and suffering often come to an end, some go on for a very long time, some stay with us until we die – but for the majority of us there is a time when we reach the other side and get a chance to look back at this time of struggle and suffering.
It would be great to chat with you about where God is. We are happy to answer any questions you have and help you to find more hope and purpose, and to pray with you if that is something you would like.
The Bible talks about many people going through tough times.
Some people think that if there is a loving God nobody should have a hard time, but even in God’s own book (the Bible) we see many examples of people who followed him and worshipped him going through hard times. People who follow Jesus don’t do so to have an easy life, they don’t believe in Him because he will get rid of their struggles – in fact many Christians have a harder time once they choose to follow Jesus, because many people around them don’t like their beliefs.
Why aren't my prayers answered?
Many times people misunderstand what God is like and what life is about. We need to understand that God is not a magic genie that has to give us what we ask for, and we also need to understand that this life is not the main thing – this is a preparation time for the real life that comes next – this is like the trailer to the film that comes after death. Yes, it's good to pray, but prayer should really come out of a friendship between you and Jesus – not as a shopping list of demands and expectations. If you get to know God, by choosing to follow Jesus, then you will begin to see and understand things from his perspective. You will start to trust him more and realise that he is actually helping us and maturing us through our struggles. God wants us to present our requests to him, to pray to him and tell him what we would like, but he then wants us to trust him – that he can see the bigger picture and always has a purpose in what he allows to continue and what he brings to an end - God is all wise and knows everything.
Think about the spiritual you
Do you believe there is a God? Have you ever spent time trying to learn about who Jesus is, what he did and why he did it?
When people believe that Jesus loves them and is interested in them it gives them a bigger picture of the world around them and of what life is all about. It gives them a new hope and a new focus outside of themselves. The more you get to know Jesus the more you will know and understand how much he cares about you and what is happening in your life.