How do we understand human suffering?
I recently received an email from a women who had experienced much tragedy in her life and in the lives of her loved ones. She felt that God had led her to my website, where she was able to find some comfort from my personal testimony of the pain and suffering I have experienced in my life and how I have reacted to it. I want to share my response to her as I know so many struggle with the issue of suffering when there is a loving God. This is the study of Theodicy.
My heart broke hearing your sad story of the pain and suffering you have had to experience as well as your loved ones. There are just some things this side of Heaven that we will never understand in this life. I have written several poems about this. I have come to accept and live with the mystery, believing that God always has our best interest while knowing men are free to make choices that can have dire consequences, but God can redeem this. I think, when I hopefully get to Heaven with my list of questions, I will arrive and will just know the answers discarding my list. I also believe God is merciful and knows our true hearts. We certainly can't hide anything from Him. I trust that He knows how mental illness and deep pain can cause people to commit and do things that are not who they are. I also believe that there is never a sin too big that God cannot forgive if we come with a repentant heart. I have chosen to continue to trust God and believe He is pure love. Ultimately, we must make a choice in how to live our lives knowing bad things will happen in this life because of free choice and random occurrences. It is choosing to live life with our cups half full, not half empty, confident God can fill our cups even to overflowing. He can redeem, restore, rebuild, and heal our brokenness. There is always hope and He can bring good from even the worst circumstance for those who love Him. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is impossible with God. So ultimately we must walk by faith, not by what we see and experience. I wish I could remove all the pain and suffering I have experienced as well as my loved ones, but we live in a fallen world. We have never been promised a life free of pain, but God has promised He will never forsake us or abandon us remaining with us and suffering with us. Our hope remains in God's promise knowing there is eternal life with our rewards found in the glory of Heaven where there is no longer pain and suffering. Our faith and belief are something that no one on this planet can take from us. So we can find joy in God's love, peace in God's presence, and hope in God's promise. May you feel and know God's love, presence, and promise always.
Love and blessings to you and yours,
"As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:5b, 9
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
"Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'”
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
"For we live by faith, not by sight."
2 Corinthians 5:7
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."
2 Timothy 4:7-8
"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them."
1 John 4:16
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
Revelation 21: 4