Wandering Toward God- Why is There So Much Pain and Suffering?


The following excerpt is taken from Travis Dickinson’s book entitled Wandering Towards God: Finding Faith Amid Doubts and Big Questions-  

As a final thought, it seems the assumption implied in many of the discussions about the problem of evil is that God owes us a relatively pain-free life.  But why think God owes this to us?  Why think God is obligated to make our lives more pleasurable than they are?

I see no reason at all to think God owes us a pleasurable life.  This is especially true given the fact that we live in a fallen world of which God is the holy Judge.  On what basis can we demand more ease and comfort in this life as fallen human beings?  God does give us good things, but he is not obligated to. 

In life, God has our well being in mind.  He doesn’t necessarily have our comfort and pleasure as his aim.  These are fundamentally different aims.  And let’s not forgot that God has given us redemption as the ultimate gift.  The ultimate evidence that God has our well-being in mind is Jesus’ work on the cross. 

Peter Kreeft says,

“How to get God off the hook?  God’s answer is Jesus.  Jesus is not God off the hook but God on the hook.  That’s why the doctrine of the divinity of Christ is crucial: If that is not God there on the cross but only a good man, then God is not on the hook, on the cross, in our suffering.  And if God is not on the hook, then God is not off the hook.”1

So here’s the picture.  We are fallen, and we live in a fallen world.  Pain and suffering are part of this picture.  God doesn’t put us through pain and suffering capriciously and for no reason.  Even if we don’t know what those reasons are we have plenty of reasons to believe that God is just and good.  But it doesn’t stop there.  God has entered this fallen world as one of us to solve the problem of evil.  He died on the cross to address evil and sin.  He rose from the dead to defeat death.

                The ultimate answer to the problem of pain and suffering is Christ crucified and raised in victory.  Our ultimate need is not less pain and more pleasure and comfort.  Our ultimate need is to find peace with God.  This provides hope no matter our circumstances.  With this hope we can face down the trials of life that inevitably come.  We may not understand all of what is going on with these trials, but they shouldn’t lead us away from God.  We should run into his loving arms. 2

God Bless,

1-  God's Answer to Suffering by Peter Kreeft- https://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/suffering.htm

2- Wandering Toward God: Finding Faith amid Doubts and Big Questions by Travis Dickinson- pgs. 174-175

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