Why Does God Allow Evil and Suffering? Part II

The only way to halt the effects of evil is to respond to evil with love. Christ entered our realm of existence to halt the cycle, but not all have joined His Church of faithful believers. And even we, who have come to love Christ, struggle with sin. Therefore, evil continues in this world. However, loving Christ does change the cycle for individuals. A relationship with Christ can bring joy and peace into our lives. It can protect us from evil, but sometimes even those who love Christ are affected by the evil around us. We are often saddened by the suffering we experience or observe in this world.
God is not capable of causing illness, pain, or suffering. He is a good and loving God who cannot bear evil and the suffering it causes. Nonetheless, why does God allow suffering? After all, He is God and can do anything. This is true, but God will not override our free will. As a loving God, He will never force us to love Him. Therefore, He allows events to take their course. This is necessary to allow us the gift of free will. Suffering is the result of living in a world of evil. Without suffering from the consequences of evil, we can never truly comprehend the beauty and perfection of genuine love. Just like dipping our finger into boiling oil can teach us never to do it again, God uses the consequences of sin to teach us the value of love. “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Humans are the cause of evil and suffering, but God, in His mercy, turns evil into good, for those who love Him as He did with Joseph, the son of Jacob.
Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. He suffered for thirteen years as a slave in Egypt, but throughout those years He remained faithful to God. God gave Joseph the gift of interpreting dreams. Joseph correctly interpreted the Pharaoh’s dream and was rewarded with a position as second in command to Pharaoh. He was placed in charge of the food supplies in Egypt. God knew the end from the beginning. Joseph was responsible for saving the lives of many, including his family, because he knew that seven years of plentiful harvest would be followed by seven years of drought, and he could plan the distribution of food supplies accordingly. When he was finally reunited with his brothers, he forgave them and told them, “Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today” (Genesis 50:20). 
The capacity to love is the greatest treasure we possess. There is nothing more important and more rewarding. We suffer from all sin, our own and the sins of others, even those who came long before us. History is just a vast web of events leading up to this moment. It is not pain or suffering, which determine our destiny. It is how we respond to the pain and suffering in our lives. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). It is God’s will that we respond to suffering and evil by always doing good and showing love. According to Paul in Romans 5:3-5 “We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” When we suffer, we seek God, and He teaches us how to endure the suffering. He teaches us patience. He allows us to experience His love through suffering by comforting us. He teaches us how to trust Him by working good in our lives out of the evil we endure. As He heals our suffering, we are brought closer to Him in a more intimate relationship. Our experiences also prepare us to be a blessing to others when we share the wisdom we gained. This is why Paul could say “We glory in tribulation.” It is in the midst of our suffering that we experience God. We experience God’s love! 

© 2017  Helen Kamenos  All rights reserved

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