Thursday, June 02, 2005

Why Does God Allow Suffering?

I am often asked why God allows suffering to happen. I just emailed someone the following answer and I thought I'd share it here. (A little background...this person has a marriage that is falling apart due to infidelity. They said that they want to believe in God but it "gives them pause" every time they see babies suffering, etc.)

I'm sure it gives God pause too. Everything that is wrong in this world (including bad marriages) came as a result of a human's poor choice. God CAN correct everything, but I don't think that's God's role, to run behind us like a mechanic or butler, fixing everything we break. He WILL make everything right in the end, but until then he promises to be with us through the pain and suffering.

I recently asked a group this question: If you are a parent and you had the option to have a child that was wired to never disobey, always be respectful and grateful, and always say the right thing at the right time...would you choose that option or would you choose to let them live a normal life and take the risk of misbehavior? No one in the group said they'd choose the first option. Why? Because it would be like having a robot for a child. Who wants a robot? We'd rather take the risk that they will cheat and drink and steal and get pregnant than have a robot. There is no relationship with a robot.

That's exactly the choice that God made too. He risked giving us free choice in hopes that we would be in relationship with him. He could have made us robots. But what is the benefit in that? As a result of God's risk, we all suffer. Thankfully God is with us to bring healing and comfort and some day he will "make all things new" as it says in the book of Revelation.

At least...that's the short answer to a very big question.

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