The ultimate question is why God doesn’t interfere more with our sufferings if He really cared. Suffering in our world is obvious. How can we possibly justify so much suffering in this world while still believing in the goodness of God? We need to understand our beliefs, since we already make assumptions about God’ role in suffering that help or hinder during difficult times.
Suffering can be viewed as a result of personal or natural evil. A great deal of suffering is either self-inflicted or inflicted upon us by others because of immoral choices. Abuse, addiction, and adultery are decisions that cause harm personally and relationally. Natural evil such as disasters of nature, diseases, or accidents that lead to so much suffering cannot always be traced to a human’s freedom to inflict pain upon themselves or others. Suffering is either deserved or undeserved. We all understand deserved suffering. What is God’s role in undeserved suffering resulting from personal or natural evil? What could possibly be God’s reasons for not intervening miraculously more than He does?
The Bible never says that since God is perfect and we aren’t perfect that all of suffering is deserved. God never says because of His righteousness and our unrighteousness that we just need to shut up and accept whatever suffering we get. Also, where in the Bible is it found that God has hand-picked all to suffer to give Him glory? Isn’t there a better way to get glory? God obviously doesn’t react to suffering, inevitable in a free world, in the same way that we human parents do, but God is not the originator of our suffering.
God cannot create and guarantee life without death, violence, suffering, and struggle and yet there be free will necessary for genuine relationships and intimacy to exist. Let’s not lay at God’s feet the evil choices of others. Evil was only avoidable if God hadn’t created or not given humans freedom to choose. Evil is not something created but originates from the human heart and misguided desires (James 1:13-15). Human parents understand the risk of intimacy when they bring children into the world knowing they may not reciprocate their love. Isn’t it easier for the majority to worship a God who doesn’t control everything as opposed to a God who accepts no resistance?
Freedom has caused a complicated world both for us and God, but we must ask why God doesn’t intervene more if we accept that God’s risk for genuine relationships was worth it. The truth is God would have to make a total mockery out of freedom. Would we ever be totally satisfied until God stopped all abuse not some abuse, all natural disasters not some natural disasters? God could annihilate people at the first sign of evil, but don’t we give our wayward children chances to change no matter the harmed caused to themselves or others? God obviously is extremely merciful and patient. God and I are very different. I try to spare my children of any suffering because I am unwilling to consider that pain may evolve into help for others.
What possible good can come from God not interfering with our undeserved suffering? God hurts as much as human parents when their children suffer. Heavenly or earthly parents aren’t sadistic just because they don’t squash freedom to avoid suffering. Suffering can enable us to not fall in love with temporal existence and love what the world offers. I benefit more from my prayers not answered than being answered. Also, suffering enables us to influence others in ways our prosperous times don’t. Are we influenced more by how people handle miracles or trust God in difficult circumstances? If God stopped all suffering, whether from personal or natural evil, the world wouldn’t necessarily be better off. Miracles turn heads but Jesus’ suffering turned the hearts of billions of followers. God will work to bring good from what was intended for evil. Our demands for an all-powerful, invulnerable God comes at the expense of trusting God know best how to run the universe and change as many lives as possible through their own volition.