WHY DO WE SUFFER?
A Right Perspective
One of the most commonly asked questions of Christians is: "How can a loving God allow people to suffer?" This question, which is not unlike Cain's disavowal of responsibility for his brother Abel when he murdered him, is one of the biggest and worst excuses offered by mankind for not following God.
Well, today I'm going to turn the tables on you and ask you to do some rôle-playing. I want you to put yourself in different situations and ask yourself some equally poignant questions.
You are the Minister of Transport for the Government. Someone comes up to you and asks:
"Why do you allow accidents to happen on the motorways?"
What would your reply be if you knew that the majority of accidents are caused by careless driving?
You are a class teacher at a local school and a parent comes up and asks you:
"Why do you allow my son to do so badly in his exams?"
What would your reply be if you knew that the boy in question was rebellious and did no work at school or at home?
You are a mother and you diligently instruct your child never to touch the hot stove in the kitchen otherwise she will get burnt. Your daughter disobeys you and burns herself. Your neighbour witnesses your child burn her hand but has not heard you warn your daughter. You tell your daughter she is very foolish for not obeying you, and your neighbour and says:
"How can you be so cruel! Look, she's in pain!"
What would your reply be?
I wonder what your answers were. Do you think the Minister of Transport was responsible for the accident that occurred on the motorway when a drunken driver exceeded the speed-limit crashed into another car and six people were killed?
Do you think the class teacher was responsible for the bad grades of the boy who never did as he was told and refused to do any work?
Do you think that the mother was responsible for the action of the little girl burning herself when she deliberately disobeyed?
THEN HOW DARE ANYONE BLAME GOD FOR THE MESS THE WORLD IS IN, WITH ALL ITS SUFFERING, WHEN MEN REFUSE TO OBEY GOD'S RULES?!
Most of us have witnessed the agony of watching a beloved friend or relative suffer as they die of cancer. Yet cancer was relatively unknown a century ago. Cancer is a 20th century illness caused by a variety of factors -- bad diet, pollution, stress, and others -- most of which are the product of the greedy, competitive spirit of capitalism, producers trying to make an easy profit by cutting safety standards, and men and women grappling with the effects of rebellious families because they have not taught their children good, character-building principles.
We have all watched the horrors of starvation and the other deprivations of war. Who is responsible for that? Power-hungry warlords, dishonest traders, people evading their taxes, extremist nationalist politics, misguided philosophies and fanatical religions, the break-down of the nuclear family, etc..
All these things -- and more -- are the causes of human suffering. God is not responsible. But why, you may ask, does he not intervene and stop it all?
Well, I'm going to put you into another rôle position so that you can answer the question for yourself.
You are the Minister of Transport. You realise that people aren't obeying the traffic rules so you hit upon a brilliant idea. You persuade the goverment to pass a law making it compulsory for every driver to take a policeman with him on every motorway journey. Ingenious! The drunk would be stopped from driving before he even started! A good idea?
You are the class teacher at a school. There are lots of rebellious children in your class and you can't control them all without depriving the hard-working children the attention they need. So you persuade the headmaster to hire an extra teacher for every rebellious child to sit with him in class to make sure he works and to go home with the pupil to make sure he does his homework. A good idea?
You can't be around your children all the time and they're rarely together. So how do you stop your children from burning their hands on the stove, walking onto the street and getting run over, or falling into the river? You then have a brilliant idea! You persuade your husband to hire one au pair girl for each of your three children, to go with them wherever they go so that you can relax and get on with your household chores. A good idea?
God knows what will make you happy and what will make you suffer. He knows it so well that He has taken especial care to make sure that certain rules are recorded for the benefit of all mankind. But He observes that hardly anybody seems to want to obey them. He observes that young people want to have multiple sex partners even though they run a high risk of contracting sexual diseases and damaging their fragile feelings. He observes that men want to have sex with men and run the risk of killing themselves by contacting AIDS. He observes that people don't want to trust one another, love one another, care for one another, sacrifice for one another -- instead, they steal, assault, insult, and are cruel to one another.
So God has a brilliant idea. He decides that to stop men and women hurting and destroying themselves he will create billions of visible, immortal angels and assign one angel to each person. That angel will go wherever that person goes, physically stop him from committing adultery, put his hand across his face when he is about to say something nasty, physically stop him from buying a hamburger full of artificial preservatives that are likely to give him cancer, pull each cigarette he takes out of his mouth to stop him and those around him getting lung cancer, sleep with him to make sure he doesn't have pre-marrital sex, turn off the Hi-Fi whenever he wants to hear brain-destroying rock music, kick him in class whenever he's not paying attention to the teacher, force him to pick up litter when he throws it on the street, stop him from cheating the tax-man when he doesn't declare an income......
IS THIS THE SORT OF SOLUTION YOU WOULD LIKE TO PREVENT YOU FROM SUFFERING? WOULD YOU WANT YOUR EVERY DECISION MADE BY SOMEONE ELSE?
Of course not. You want to be free to choose for yourself. And so does God.
SO HOW DARE YOU BLAME GOD FOR DOING NOTHING ABOUT THE SUFFERING IN THE WORLD! IT'S YOUR FAULT! IT'S YOU THAT'S GOT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. SO DO IT!
People are selfish. They want something for nothing. When things go wrong they blame everybody but themselves. What hyprocrisy! If you want the world to improve, then you're responsible -- not the government, not the next man down the street...not God.
A very wise Chinese philosopher, commenting on the problems of the world, once said:
If there be reighteousness in the heart,
there will be beauty in the character.
If there is beauty in the character,
there will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home,
there will be order in the nation.
When there is order in each nation,
there will be peace in the world.
World peace. No more murdering, no more war, no more genocide, no more rape, no more assault, no more starvation, no more disease.
There is enough land to grow food in the world to feed everyone.
There are enough men and women to go around for everyone to find a life partner and have a happy, sexually-fulfilling marriage.
There are enough physical resources and research facilities to combat and eradicate every disease.
There are enough fuels to provide warmth for everyone.
There are enough resources to provide shelter for everyone.
There is enough of everything.
But there's one problem -- YOU.
You, and your neighbour, and every other neighbour, are the problem.
You are selfish. Selfishness is the great destructive force in the world. Where does selfishness come from? It comes from one thing, and one thing only -- PRIDE. Pride in self.
And there's nothing that you, of your own power, can do about it.
The communists understood that selfishness -- egotism -- was the problem and that communal action was the solution. They were right. Communal awareness and cooperation is the solution to many social evils. But communism didn't work.
Shortly before Soviet communism fell, a delegate at the Communist International bewailed: "How does one create the Soviet MAN??" In other words, how does one create a selfless, communally minded person? They never found out.
Communism was right in many areas. Captalism has defeated communism but humanity has not won a thing, except the freedom to be more selfish. Democratic captalism will lead the human race down to decadence, lawlessness and finally destruction as surely as Communism did, because it is based on selfishness. Governments will see this and so the world will move, once again, to FASCISM. That is the future we face in a world without God. And it's already happening...everywhere.
1. Firstly, you have to recognise that you are DEAD. No, I don't mean that you are the living dead like Dracula! You are dead to God. God has revaled through His Word, the Bible, that every time you disobey His Torah (Law) you sin, and sin leads to spiritual death. You are spiritually dead -- you are cut off from God.
2. You can receive spiritual life, called eternal life, as a free gift. You don't have to earn it by being good (Eph.2:8-9). It's the gift itself which enables you to be good. Yahweh (God the Father) has said:
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of Elohim (God) is eternal life through Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) our Master (Lord)" (Rom.6:23).
3. Elohim (God) declares that nobody is alive without him because everyone has sinned:
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of Elohim (God)" (Rom.3:23).
That means you can't claim you have your own special route to Elohim (God). There is only one way to Elohim (God) and one way to life.
4. Yahweh is loving and caring. He gives yout the freedom to choose what you want to do. He also gives you the freedom to choose to follow Him. If you do, He will sort out the inner spiritual mess you have created for yourself through a life of disobedience:
"[Elohim] saved us not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy" (Titus 3:5).
"The Master...is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Pet.3:9).
Yahweh is just -- He must judge sin. For any law to be just, it must impose a penalty if you break it. If you break the speed limit on a motorway and you get fined, then that is just. The law exists to protect people. Yahweh's Torah (Law) exists to protect you.
"He does not leave the guilty unpunished..." (Ex.34:7).
That's why the world is in a mess. Men break Yahweh's laws at a fearful cost to themselves. Does that mean that Elohim (God) punishes the good because of what the bad do? Certainly not! If too many people speed on the motorway and there are too many accidents, and the government lowers the speed limit to protect life, does that mean the government has punished the careful drivers because of the bad ones? Or is it, in fact, the bad drivers who are responsible? It's the bad drivers, of course! The government is only trying to save life. So too is Yahweh when He established His Torot (Laws).
5. Man's basic needs are forgiveness, peace with Elohim (God), and eternal life. He tries religion, good deeds, materialism, drugs, popularity, entertainment, sex, the occult and much else. None of these satisfy his deeper needs because they don't solve the problem of sin. Only Yahweh has the solution.
6. Only Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is the solution:
"I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. Non-one comes to the Father (Yahweh) except through Me" (John 14:6).
No religious observance will bring you to Yahweh. No form of meditation like Yoga will bring you into contact with Yahweh. Only through the person of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) can you draw near to Yahweh.
"Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
THERE IS NO OTHER WAY.
"Everyone who calls upon the Name of the master Yah'shua (Lord Jesus) will be saved" (Rom.10:13).
Not a feeble call, mind you, but the whole soul -- your whole mind, heart, and body.
To be "saved" means to be delivered from sin -- from oppression, from egotism and self-destruction, from greed and selfishness, from hatred and cruelty, from emptiness and loneliness, from defeat and purposelessness.
7. NOW IS THE TIME TO TAKE ACTION -- not in an hour's time, not tomorrow or a week, but now. Why delay? Why risk being sidetracked into sin again? You have nothing to lose except a life of emptiness.
Pray this prayer together with me now, on your knees, and with real sincerity of heart:
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of eternal life. I know that I am a sinner and that I cannot save myself. I believe Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is the Son of God and that He died for my sins and rose again from the dead. I now put my complete trust in You alone for eternal life and will obey your Torah (Law). Thank you for delivering me! In Yah'shua's (Jesus') Name, Amen.
NEXT search out a Bible-believing Assembly or contact one of our ministers immediately. Don't delay! You have just begun your spiritual walk in Christ and have alot to learn. Get a Bible and read it every day. Read the article, How Do I Become a New Covenant Christian? You will have alot of questions and will need a mature and committed Christian to help guide you.
May Yahweh bless you and you start on your new and exciting life. You are invited to make contact with us and talk with us. We will gladly help you with any problems you may have and show you how to solve them in the strength of Messiah.
This page was created on 28 December 1997
Updated on 23 December 2016
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