From childhood, we want things our way. “I don’t want vegetables; I want ice cream! “Why do I have to take a nap?” Do I have to stay in the backyard?
As we get older, we gain more freedom. Soon enough, most of us get to make all the choices we care to make. We’re designed for freedom. All human beings crave it.
But we are also designed for responsibility – for ourselves and for others. “No man is an island”, we learned that from everyday experiences. Even a single death affects each one of us, and applies to all life. Each human choice has a ripple effect on the rest of humanity. We cannot avoid it.
God gave us the freedom to choose. When Adam and Eve exercised that freedom, their shortsighted choice introduced evil into the world. We still have that freedom, but we live with its consequences too. And it doesn’t feel very free.
Why is there suffering? Should we blame God for it? What role does our God-given freedom to choose play in the evil we see every day? What does it mean to be truly free?
We normally think of pain and suffering as bad, and we do our best to avoid them. But since they are inevitable parts of life, maybe we should adjust thinking. Instead of grumbling about our problems, or blaming someone else, let’s look to the Bible to see how God uses trials to draw us closer to Him. Why” Seeing God in our Pain shows us the root causes of our pain and suffering and allows us to see Him more closely as a God Who really does care.
While suffering is unfortunately the common denominator of life in this present world, pain and suffering will have no place in the world to come. This is, in part, what was accomplished on the Cross. The cross gives us hope that helps us endure, by grace, when the long shadow of suffering passes over us. It is the Cross that promises a time when wrongs are made right and suffering is brought to an end.
Where is God when we suffer? Right Beside Us. God’s love for us is most evident by His presence with us when we suffer, not when suffering is absent. In His presence we can find peace.