What I do know is that God created a world without suffering, sickness and pain. He created a paradise, a world without war, violence and hatred.
What I do know is that humanity turned away from God. We disobeyed him and as a result sin entered the world.
Sin separates us from God and it also brought death and decay into the world. This decay impacts on the physical world which the Bible describes as groaning as a result of sin (Romans 8.22). We see this groaning in earthquakes and tsunamis and I hate it when people call these things acts of God. The groaning in this world is caused by sin which is the result of the choice of humanity to turn away from God. The world is falling apart and it is our fault and yet we blame God.
What I do know is that one day God will bring about change.
‘Creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay’ (Romans 8.21).
I believe that God’s heart breaks for this world as he looks on and sees suffering, sickness and disasters. One day he will return to bring an end to it all and he will create a new heaven and a new earth where there will be no sickness, crying or pain.
If God can end suffering by making this new paradise, why doesn’t do it now?
God wants everyone to live with him on the new earth but for us to get there we need to turn away from our sin asking for God’s forgiveness as we turn to him as our lord and saviour (this turning or changing our minds is called repentance in the Bible).
In the early church, some people were asking why Jesus hadn’t yet returned to bring an end to the sin and suffering and this was the response:
‘God is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance’ (2 Peter 3.9).
The suffering in the world breaks God’s heart but he hasn’t returned to end it yet because he wants everyone to turn to him for salvation so that we can live with him on the new earth.
God puts up with suffering for our sakes. He allows it to go on so that more of us can be rescued.
If God can intervene in our suffering now, why doesn’t he?
God did intervene, he sent his son to show us what life could be like.
He sent his son to give us a glimpse of what life on the new earth could be like.
He sent his only precious son and we killed him.
Get that, humanity killed Jesus and yet we complain that God doesn’t intervene. What are we like?
God watched his son die on the cross. He must have desperately wanted to end Jesus’ suffering and to rescue him from the cross but he didn’t. Jesus died in our place and through his death he made it possible for us to have the opportunity to find forgiveness, salvation and a place in the new earth with God.
God watched his son die and he could have intervened.
It breaks my heart that God chose not to stop the crucifixion of his beloved son. It’s so unfair that the sinless and perfect Jesus died so that the humanity that was crucifying him could have the opportunity to be saved.
It’s so unfair, it breaks my heart but ultimately I am grateful.
We may not understand absolutely why God allows suffering but we do understand that God wants to rescue us. The sin and suffering that break God’s heart is being allowed to continue for a time so that more of us will have the opportunity to turn to God.
God wants us all to repent so that we can be saved but how will we respond?