Why Does God Allow Suffering

Many have had this pressing question lingering in their minds for a long time: Why does God allow suffering? Let's see the answer in this article.

Why Does God Allow Suffering
When a new born comes into the world, they are innocent and naive; not knowing what awaits them. The moment a child begins to grow, gradually they are exposed to the realities of the physical realm. Little by little, they begin to experience certain things that are unpleasant. Through many of such experiences, they come to the knowledge that life in this side of existence is imperfect. 

It is often out of many unpleasant life experiences that people ask mind-boggling questions like, “why does God allow suffering?”

I understand that for a long time, this question has bugged the minds of many. If you're one of those who have been seeking accurate biblical answer to this question, then this article is for you. Let's trust that the Spirit of God speaks through this writing to unveil to us the mysteries behind what men call suffering.

2 Corinthians 1:7 NKJV
And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.

In this article, we will touch on subjects like;

  • Why did God allow Job to suffer
  • Why does God hate me
  • Where is God when we suffer
  • Why does God allow tragedy
  • How long will God allow me to suffer

Before we go into detail, let's briefly answer a couple of questions:

Why is there suffering and pain in life ? Simply put, there is suffering and pain in life because there is sin. Every form of rebellion against God naturally attracts suffering. The Bible says that righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach (Proverbs 14:24).

Why is there suffering in the world ? There is suffering in the world because God's perfect order which safeguarded the world against every possible suffering was broken when sin came into the world. 


Still curious? Then follow up as we delve further into the topic.

Types Of Suffering


I can readily categorise suffering into the following types:

1. God-Orchestrated Suffering


These are often tests and trials straight out of the hand of God. We can take the story of Joseph for example:

Psalm 105:19 NKJV
Until the time that his word came to pass, The word of the LORD tested him.

Between the time that Joseph began to see dreams of his greatness and the manifestion of those dreams, Joseph was tested by those same words God spoke concerning him. All that Joseph went through were part of his God-orchestrated suffering. 

2. God-Permitted Suffering


Here, we can use the story of Job for example. Satan met God for a challenge, and Job was the one to be used. God agreed to the challenge. 

Job 2:6 BSB
“Very well,” said the LORD to Satan. “He is in your hands, but you must spare his life.”

God gave the permission and removed the hedge of protection He placed around Job, before Job began experiencing all that he experienced. 

3. Self-Induced Suffering


This is suffering due to bad choices and unrighteous living. There are many people who suffer because of the wrong things they do and the wrong way they live. An action often triggers a reaction and wrong choices will often trigger consequences. 

For instance, if a man goes into a shopping mall to start stealing but eventually gets caught, beaten and thrown in the cell, we can't say God was responsible for that. It's not even a punishment from God. It's a consequence from a wrong choice. 

It's funny that some people go through suffering as a result of things they do but keep blaming God. This isn't God punishing anyone. God has no hands in self-induced suffering. 

4. Devil-Induced Suffering


This is often the enemy intentionally executing wickedness—especially against the people of God and against the innocent. 

Ephesians 6:12 NLT
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

This type of suffering is simply the enemy fulfilling his purpose. It's not really a big deal because he can't do good. The enemy has always been evil and will continually be that way. There's nothing strange about this.

John 10:10 KJV
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

In the story of Job, we see Satan taking permission from God before doing evil, but that's not always the case. Many bad things that happen in the world today are as a result of the works of darkness. God did not endorse those things, but that does not mean they happened outside His power. 

The fact that people do evil to others doesn't mean God permitted those things to happen. It doesn't also mean it defied God's power and foreknowledge. 

Matthew 13:27-30 ESV
And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” 

As seen in Matthew 13:27-30, God does prefer to let certain things be until the last day, and we cannot judge or question Him for this decision. 

Why Do We Suffer


What people call suffering is a mystery that is yet to be fully grasped by mortal men. The purpose of suffering goes way beyond human comprehension. But through the Holy Spirit, nothing is hidden. 

It is true that sin is the major cause of suffering on earth, but we must also understand that nothing takes God unawares. 

Isaiah 44:7 NIV
Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come—yes, let them foretell what will come.

The Almighty in His foreknowledge, knew right from time that there was going to be a 'Satan' who will lead one-third of Heaven's angels in rebellion against Him—and further cause man to sin. 

There is a thing called the Supreme Will of God. Everything that happens throughout the entire creation is pre-made to happen within the boundaries of this Divine Will. Because everything emanated from God and exists within the planes of existence which God created, nothing has the ability to transcend God's Supreme Will. 

Let me quickly remind you that, wherever it is that the fallen angels and demons live, that place was still created by God Almighty. There is no spiritual realm that Satan created for himself and his counterparts—outside of God's reach. Everything exists within God's creation and literally nothing slips out of God's control. 

Now you see that if God wanted to eliminate the rebellion and prevent the rebellious angels from entering the earth realm, He would had easily done so. But instead, the Bible tells us that the devil and his angels were thrown down to the earth:

Revelation 12:9 ESV
And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

It's amusing how very intentional this looks. This doesn't look like a mistake from God. The One who knows everything doesn't make mistakes. But as if that wasn't enough, a report was further made by Heaven to the people of the earth, announcing the arrival of the enemy and his assignment:

Revelation 12:12 ESV
Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”

I understand that to many, this might be a hard pill to swallow. God allowed all of these things to happen. But let's be reminded that whatever unpleasant thing God allows, He always has a good purpose behind it. God works in mysterious ways; He works with things that man would readily discard. Nothing beats His wisdom. 

Romans 8:28 NIV
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

We must all come into agreement that if God intentionally showed reluctance towards eliminating the rebellion, He must have had His own plans. The One who gave life to the angels could take it back in a snap-of-a-finger. He could as well lock them up and prevent them from being thrown to the earth. But He didn't.

1. Suffering Is A Tool In God's Hands


We've learned that because of sin there is suffering. But if there was no devil in the garden to deceive Eve, sin wouldn't had come into the world. If we were to connect the dots from here, we could see that God allowed suffering. As for why He allowed it, we can't say we know it all. 

But we are sure of one thing: God knows exactly what He is doing and it is for our own good. Romans 8:28 makes that clear. We must trust His wisdom! 

Ephesians tells us that God works “all things” according to the counsel of His will. It said, “All things,” not some—suffering inclusive. 

Ephesians 1:11 KJV
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. 

What man sees as suffering is a very effective tool in God's hands. As mere mortals with finite minds, we may not fully understand to what extent God uses this tool. But I can tell you that suffering as a tool in God's hands produces great results. 

2. Jesus Christ Experienced Suffering


As Christians, we are expected to live the way our Lord Jesus Christ lived, aren't we? Let's also not be quick to forget that suffering was the nature of the ministry Jesus Christ on earth. It was like His job description. 

In Romans 8:32, we are told that the Father did not spare His only begotten Son, but gave Him up for us all. Jesus Christ died a gruesome death on the cross, but we enjoy the results from that suffering today. This alone should remind us that if God allows us to go through anything uncomfortable, He always has a good purpose behind it! 

The Father did not commission the Son into the world on a suicide mission that wouldn't produce anything good. The Son also perfectly understood that suffering has a supernatural role to play in fostering the execution of God's Supreme Will. Several times in scriptures, we saw Jesus declaring, “the Son of man must suffer many things.” He didn't hate the suffering, He embraced it. 

Mark 8:31 NIV
He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.

Imagine if the Lord gave up on being crucified in the last minute—with the excuse that He wasn't ready to pass through such suffering and pain, where would we had been today? What if we had the same attitude as Jesus towards our God-orchestrated sufferings? I'm sure that we would achieve and attain a lot with God and in life!

The Bible makes us understand that it wasn't just the salvation of men that Jesus achieved through the suffering He experienced. Apart from the fact that He learned to be more yielded to the will of the Father (Hebrews 5:8), He earned for Himself a name above all names. He was further elevated above all of God's Angels to sit at the right hand of the Father!

Philippians 2:8-11 ESV
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

If the Father allowed His most precious Son to suffer, then suffering isn't something we should hastily judge or draw conclusions on as being evil. 

3. We Also Will Experience Suffering


It is true that humans naturally do not like anything that makes them uncomfortable. We always wish life could be perfect. But the present earth is like a training camp for humans—especially the chosen ones. 

I hear Christians keep questioning why they suffer more than those who don't know God. You shouldn't compare yourself with them, because you are being pruned and reshaped by God daily into the image and likeness of His Son. The suffering that unbelievers experience may appear lesser because they are not going through God's refining process. 

We saw the results that the suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ produced. We saw that the will of the Father wasn't to destroy His Son, but to let Him go through what would bring out the best in Him. The sacrifice of the Lord on the cross was a win-win; man was saved and Jesus was further glorified! 

Romans 8:17 NIV
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. 

We as Christians will also suffer—we might end up experiencing even more suffering. It could come in form of persecution from unbelievers, hardships or spiritual attacks from the enemy. But we must always remember that God is in charge. There is something new He wants to birth in us through what He lets us go through. 

Romans 8:18 KJV
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Whatever God allows to get to us--no matter how bad it may seem--isn't meant to destroy us. In most cases, God uses these things as tests—and there is no promotion without a test. 

James 1:4 NASB
And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

We must learn to respond accordingly. Don't allow your suffering to mar but make you. Allow suffering to have its perfect course of performing God's will in your life. 

Why Did God Allow Job To Suffer


Some Christians often make statements like, “I go to church, I pray to God often and do my best to walk in obedience to God, why does God still allow me to go through all that I'm going through?” 

Well, the same can be said about Job. The Bible never said that Job was a wicked and evil person. It said that Job was a righteous man:

Job 1:1 NLT
There once was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil. 

Job lived righteously and was completely devoted to God. Then all of a sudden, problems began to hit from all angles. It isn't always because Christians are living in sin that they go through diverse kinds of hardship. 

God allowed Job to suffer because it was a test. The Lord will occasionally test us also. It is called the trial of our faith (1 Peter 1:7). Every Christian has their testing season; to some of us it might even come more than once. How then are we expected to react and respond in times like that of Job? The Bible says, “count it all joy!” 

James 1:2-4 ESV
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

The good news is that Job wasn't destroyed by the fire God allowed him to pass through. Besides that, we see in scriptures that Job understood and his confessions were in line with what God intended to achieve in him:

Job 23:10 NLT
“But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.

The Bible tells us that God gave Job twice as much as he had before; and his latter was greater than his former (Job 42:10-12).

The results that came out of the sufferings of Job are summed up in this scripture and given to us for our comfort and encouragement: 

1 Peter 5:10 ESV
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 

Where Is God When We Suffer


Let nothing ever make you think God is unaware when you are going through trials. Nothing comes to us without being known by God. Why would an all-powerful God allow danger to slip through His grasp and hit us? 

Isaiah 43:2 KJV
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

When we go through trials, we must always remember that God is fully aware and is capable of taking us out of the fire within a split second. But if He allowed it, there is a good purpose which He intends to achieve in us through what He allowed. 

1 Corinthians 10:13 Good News Translation
Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.

Rest assured, God doesn't allow any of us to go through what would destroy us. God knows the perfect heat intensity we can endure in His refiner's fire. 

Why Does God Hate Me


God doesn't hate anyone by allowing them experience trials. God is not cruel; He does not punish His children with suffering. Even to unbelievers, He gives many chances and more time hoping for their repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

If the Father did not hate Jesus by sending Him to die on the cross, then there's no way anyone would say He hates them by what they are going through. 

If you feel your sufferings are from God and are too much to bear, then try asking God why it's that way. I'm sure He has a clear and perfect explanation for you. 

Final Words On Why God Allows Suffering


Brethren, we can go on and on concerning why God allows suffering. But I believe the most important points have already been raised in this article. 

Suffering remains on earth because sin remains. Despite the fact that Jesus paid for our sins, not everyone is willing to let go of their sin and be cleansed. So long everyone is not saved from their sin, suffering will continue. We shouldn't expect a suffering-free life in this present world, but in the world to come.

We must understand that suffering is part and parcel of life on this present earth. Almost everything involves suffering in one way or the other. None of us should hate suffering, because literally everything is stressful. 

Imagine the number of hours I put into writing this article. It would had been easier to drop my device and sleep instead, but at the end of the day this article wouldn't have been produced. To a great extent, suffering always has a good role to play in our lives—especially when orchestrated by God. 

According to James 1:4, the overall purpose of suffering in our lives is our perfection. Always remember to count it all joy! Let suffering build and not destroy you. Let it make you into who God destined you to be. 

If you were blessed reading this article on “Why does God allow suffering,” do not hesitate to share with others also. 

Remain blessed! 

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