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The Living Waters Podcast

Ep. 107 – Why Does God Allow Suffering?

The question of suffering is one of the most commonly raised objections to Christianity, but it becomes much easier to answer when we consider a few fundamental truths. Listen as the guys dive into this topic to offer biblical wisdom and encouragement.

Show Notes

In today’s episode, the guys talk about suffering and the question of why God allows suffering to occur.  This question is one of the most common objections raised to Christianity, and it entails a logical breakdown, as suffering is not about the reality of a creator, but rather indicates that something is horribly wrong with the created order.  The question is also raised by two different sorts of people: those who ask with a “gotcha” mindset, and those who have suffered and have a genuine desire to understand and believe.  The Bible answers both groups, holding the first under judgment, and meeting the second by speaking to the reality of suffering.  When we interact with people asking how a loving God could allow suffering, we must first ask why they are asking the question and what their baseline assumptions are.  With those asking out of a true desire to understand, we need to offer tenderness and compassion.  We then need to offer answers.  We don’t always receive specific explanations for why certain things happen (and so we must always meet suffering with faith!), but we do get a big-picture answer in the Bible.  Ever since man’s first sin, the world has been fallen and broken.  Christianity defines suffering in light of the fall, and is the only worldview to offer both a clear definition of and hope within suffering.

When we count the cost and become Christians, we know we are not signing up for a life free of suffering.  There will be all manner of suffering for us until the day we see our Savior face to face.  But in the meantime, suffering takes on a new meaning for us.  It is an honor granted to us.  It tests our faith as a fire, conforms us to the image of Christ, reminds us that God’s ways are not our ways, and points us to the cross.  At the cross, God the Father allowed the brutal death of His Son, and Jesus willingly took suffering upon Himself.  In this climactic moment of suffering, we also see our final victory over suffering secured.  We look ahead to the end of suffering, knowing that the trials we endure now are – in light of Romans 8:28 – being worked together for our good and God’s glory.  We can worship with joy even through our suffering, and far from being a shallow or cheesy thing, our joy is a deep, sustaining confidence in the character of God.  We can also use suffering as an opportunity to evangelize, urging others to join us as we hope in God.

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