Why Does God Allow Evil and Suffering in the World?

Why Does God Allow Evil and Suffering in the World?
The problem of evil and suffering is a question that people have wrestled with in every generation. But compounding the theological problem is the relational problem of Christians behaving badly in response to evil and suffering.

Our Theology of Suffering - Is God the Cause?

Natural disasters, accidents, and tragedies - are they acts of God as punishment?

Luke 13:1-5

"Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.

Jesus never answers the question of cause - “Here’s why this tragedy happened…”
Instead, tragedy brings victims and bystanders together to turn back to God and be reminded of the brevity of life.

Suffering is a part of living in a broken world, and Christians are not exempt. However, suffering can provide a general message of warning to all humanity that something is wrong with this planet and we are in need of radical intervention. A simple truth: This - the suffering in the world around us - is not the way it’s supposed to be.

There are no answers to the backward looking question of “Why?” But there are clues to the forward-looking question of “For What Purpose?” Suffering can be redeemed and transformed to display God’s glory.

John 9

"As Jesus went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him."

Our Response to Suffering - How Do We Help?

There is good news and bad news when it comes to suffering. The bad news: there is no magic bullet or final answer to make it end. The good news: Think of someone who helped you through hardship? What qualified them? Academic credentials? Title or position? No, ordinary people being present, providing small practical acts of love. It matters little what we say; what matters more is our concern and availability - a listening ear, shared tears, hugs etc. We, the church, no matter our capabilities can be a help to those who are suffering. 

People who suffer often feel like God has left them. The body of Christ is God’s physical presence on earth to those who suffer. Perhaps it’s not “Where is God…?” but “Where is the Body of Christ…”