A very big question that we ask is about suffering. It is hard to understand why some people have so much grief to bear and others seem to sail through life. And at the core of that question is why is there suffering at all. If God is a loving God, why does He allow suffering?
There are no complete answers to some of our questions this side of heaven and even what we do understand often comes in small doses.
“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.’ Then he told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, “For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?” “Sir,” the man replied, “leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.”’ Luke 13:1-9
Jesus asked His disciples about those who had suffered. He wanted them to consider if suffering identified them as worse sinners.
Is that how God works?
Certainly, there are consequences to our sin. If I steal and am caught, I will most likely go to prison. That is a direct consequence to my sin. But it also seems that suffering comes, not just as a result of my actions, but rather just comes.
When God spoke the world into existence, it was with all perfection. Nothing was out of place. There were no desperate sounds, no tears, no pain. Only joy, beauty, praise filled the air and the lungs of every living thing. Even the rocks had hidden voices that at any moment could sing of the glory of God.
But then sin happened. The glory faded and groaning took its place. The best of beauty slipped away and little by little the world forgot how to live in the presence of God and replaced it with how to live in the presence of self.
When our best vision is our own reflection in the mirror, we think about what we want. Then our actions not only become careless, but often it means we cease to care at all. The result? Suffering.
Why is there suffering?
The world has forgotten how to live without it, because the relationship with God has been broken.