I may do everything in my power to spare my children of pain. They may not study enough and fail, but I prevent certain, appropriate consequences. I rather my children not suffer injustice at the hands of others though their experience may make them more sensitive to the injustices of others. I can’t tolerate the pain that I am in because they are in pain. Some parents refuse to let their children experience consequences from drug use or bullying others despite lack of remorse.
God apparently is not the same kind of parent that I am. God’s pain surely is greater than ours. He has more children. Only God know how good it really was in the beginning before pain entered the world. God could stop all pain. I suppose the pain involved when a child is wayward and allowing them to suffer consequences in hopes of seeing the need to change is more manageable. But, what about the pain involved when your child is treated unfairly. Jesus was crucified for telling the truth and God didn’t intervene.
God, like human parents, desires children who relate to Him in love than obey Him out of fear. Love without the freedom to hate is neither authentic nor desirable. God took the same risk we do when having children. No amount of good resulting from evil justifies the evil actions of others, but was God’s risk in allowing freedom necessary to obtain the highest good in relationships? It is not heresy to suggest even God cannot create and guarantee life without death, violence, suffering, and struggle and yet there be genuine free will. When evil was chosen suffering became a part of God’s story to lead us of our own volition to a paradise appropriate for free beings.
The truth is suffering, whether deserved or undeserved, 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, undeserved suffering enables us to relate to and help others in similar circumstances. Are we influenced more by how people handle miracles or trust God in difficult circumstances? Jesus’ miracles simply left people wanting more miracles and shortcuts to character-building. Jesus’ suffering changed billions of lives. Jesus’ life and death was God’s attempt to preserve our freedom, oppose our rebellion, and persuade us to be unselfish lovers.
God challenged Job’s assumption that the wicked are judged or the righteous rewarded immediately: “…Why should I not be impatient…Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment? Why must those who know him look in vain for such days” (21:4, 24:1)? God didn’t declare He is perfect and we aren’t perfect, so we always deserve suffering. Freedom makes for a complicated world. Perhaps God allowing suffering allows the most people to change for their own good without giving up on them. God is patient and merciful in hopes we will change.
I can’t always explain how any good comes from horrific evils by the hands of dictators. I do know God’s constant interference makes a mockery out of freedom. I can better comprehend God’s ways on smaller evils, but we would never be totally satisfied until all pain and suffering ceased. I will have to trust God regarding the bigger evils that overwhelm. I do know God is in a great deal of pain when He doesn’t interfere though He could. I do know God is always working to bring good from intended evil. I do know that sufferings, which are inevitable in a free world, change more lives than miracles.