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Why does God allow pain and suffering? This is a difficult question to answer.

When I suffer or watch others, I want to lash out in anger, but my heart calls me to dig deeper because I know there is more to suffering than what I see on the surface.

You see, for many years, I thought God was cruel and mean. Since I have experienced some emotional healing, I now see God more as a loving Father. So, I guess the question now is, why does a loving God allow suffering and pain?

Looking at this as a parent with my own kids, I realize that sometimes loving fathers allow their children to feel some pain. If you have kids, you probably already know this. When our kids don’t feel suffering, they become entitled, spoiled, and unteachable. Overtime, the effects of this can be devastating.

As children of God, we aren’t much different. If you follow Jesus, you will experience some suffering for the same reasons. Suffering brings refinement and helps us empathize with those who are also hurting. Most of all, suffering drives us to either run to God or run away. It forces you to make a choice.

If we choose to run to Him, we experience beautiful changes. Read on to understand how suffering can make you a better person, glorify God, help others, and draw you to the Father who knows the deepest of all suffering.

What Does Jesus Say About Suffering?

Jesus is the best answer to the question: why does God allow pain and suffering? He suffered the greatest and did it for you and me.

Can you imagine being the ruler of the universe and then coming down to earth in the form of a baby to be the lowest of all?

He could have been born to anyone, anywhere. Instead, He chose to be born to peasants in Nazareth (a backward town) who had nothing. Furthermore, He chose to be born among stinky animals and put into a feeding trough instead of a beautiful crib.

What a way to enter the world! (I’d come in blazes of glory, live in a nice palace, and have me some good food. And no suffering! Yep.)

Jesus chose lowliness so He would be accessible to everyone, not just the rich. He also chose to be mocked, ridiculed, and beaten.

And then He chose to die on the cross for sins He didn’t commit. Jesus suffered the most painful death possible. And He did it willingly.

Why?

Love.

Here’s a “Why does God allow pain and suffering Bible verse:”

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (NIV).

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Why Does God Allow Pain and Suffering? 6 Undeniable Reasons

Why does God allow bad things to happen? And why does a loving God allow suffering and pain? These are age-old questions that I can not completely answer. What I can give you are the positive effects of suffering and why it matters to God

Hopefully, this will help you endure your suffering until the end.

1. Suffering draws us closer to God

Why does God allow pain and suffering? Because it draws us closer to Him.

How many of you are on your knees talking to God daily when life is pretty good? Perhaps your life is not perfect, but it is not a freakin’ mess.

Suddenly, a crisis comes along, and the tables turn. Suddenly, God becomes important.

You start begging Him to do something. You pray for Him to change the circumstances and remove the suffering. When this happens, our pride melts away. We realize we are not God and need help.

God allows suffering, so we will draw closer to Him. He wants to be in a relationship with you because He loves talking to you.

Personally, I didn’t learn how to pray intensely until I hit a crisis in my life. I had nowhere to turn but to God, who answered through prayer. I am so grateful I ran to Him instead of away from Him.

Here’s a “Why does God allow pain and suffering Bible verse:”

Psalms 34:18 says, “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit” (NIV).

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2. Suffering opens doors to share Christ

Why does God allow suffering? Because our testimony is the best way to share Christ with others.

How did you come to Christ? I bet it wasn’t because you were having a grand ol’ time!

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Most likely, there was a point of crisis or need that made you bend your knee to the One greater than you. You were probably suffering from some pain.

Fortunately, our brokenness is the very thing that creates a beautiful testimony and, by the way, the most incredible way to share Christ.

If you ask, “Why does God allow pain and suffering?” think about the future. Who will you bring to Christ in the future or encourage because of what you are enduring now?

No one can argue with what God has done in your life. It is your unique story about how God came down and rescued you from your mess. (It’s like composting waste and spreading it later into another garden.)

Here’s a “Why does God allow pain and suffering Bible verse:”

Psalm 145:4 says, “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts” (ESV).

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3. Suffering refines us

Why does God allow suffering? Because it helps us grow and become more like Jesus.

Here’s the truth, and it ain’t pretty…God is more concerned with our character than our comfort. Ugh!

He wants to make us reflect Jesus. And that doesn’t come naturally.

To put it bluntly, we are naturally selfish, self-absorbed, and proud creatures who don’t like to be inconvenienced.

We don’t think we need Him.

When we suffer pain, we start looking outside of ourselves. We must admit we need help and humbly submit to God’s way instead of ours.

Sadly, some people are stubborn and may need more “field trips” than others.

Here’s a “Why does God allow pain and suffering Bible verse:”

Isaiah 48:10 says, “I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering” (NLT).

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4. Suffering gives us strength

Why does God allow suffering? Because it makes us stronger in our faith.

I was born a natural wimp. Let’s just say I was never a fan of sports or adventure. I would rather read books about other people’s courageous adventures while I am at home in my bed, curled up in my blankets.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t help develop strength.

After many years, I have found that experiencing suffering is what has developed muscles of faith. You see, strength comes from doing.

And failing is a part of that process.

Honestly, I think failure is a better teacher than success.

When we don’t get things right, there are so many more lessons to be learned because, generally, we pay more attention to what happened—or didn’t happen.

We are more malleable for the Potter and, in the end, much stronger for going through the trial.

God allows suffering, so we will exercise our faith. God loves it when we trust and believe Him.

What does the Bible say about suffering? It says to count it all joy when you are in a trial.

Here are “Why does God allow pain and suffering Bible verses:”

Hebrews 11:6 says, “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him” (NLT).

James 1:2-4 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

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5. Suffering gives others hope

Why does God allow suffering? Because your story gives others hope.

I can think of countless testimonies of God intervening miraculously through suffering. Perhaps the outcome wasn’t always perfect, but God made Himself known throughout the trial.

When I am down, I first look at how others have made it through their time of suffering. I like reading stories of triumph, heroes who have overcome all the odds, or ordinary people who cope with the hardest of circumstances.

Most of all, I enjoy reading quotes from famous people who have suffered.

I don’t feel so alone when I hear what they have been through. It gives me hope for my circumstances.

Here’s a “Why does God allow pain and suffering Bible verse:”

Romans 5:3-4 says, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope”(NIV).

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6.  Suffering glorifies God

When Christ’s disciples asked whose sin caused the blind man to be born that way, Jesus said, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned” (John 9:3).

Jesus then redirected his disciples from considering the cause of the man’s disability to its purpose. He said, “This happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”

While this may seem unfair, we can’t possibly understand the whole picture. I think about Nick Vujicic, the man with no arms and legs. He’s one of my favorite speakers.

Nick says, “God began to instill a passion for sharing my story and experiences to help others cope with whatever challenges they might have in their lives. Turning my struggles into something that would glorify God and bless others, I realized my purpose!”

God is glorified in some of the most challenging circumstances because he is glorious, especially in suffering.

Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen?

The question of why God allows bad things to happen is one of the most complex and challenging topics in theology and philosophy. It is often called the problem of evil and has been debated for centuries.

Here are a few explanations for the bad things that happen in our lives:

Free Will:

Why does God allow pain and suffering? Love is guided by free will. He collaborates with us and allows us to make our own choices and decisions. People can choose to do good or bad things with that free will.

However, this also means that some individuals may choose to cause harm or suffering to others, leading to bad things happening in the world.

Satan, on the other hand, is the lord of slavery, intimidation, control, confusion, and domination. If he governed our world, we would never have a choice.

I choose free will over control and domination! How about you?

Natural Law:

Some bad things, such as natural disasters or diseases, result from the Fall in the Garden of Eden. God set these laws in motion due to Adam and Eve’s curse in Genesis 3. One man chose to sin, and one man, Jesus, saved us from sin through salvation.

Although we are saved, we still live under the curse of sin, death, and disease. One day this will go away, though. Hallelujah!

Testing and Faith:

The Bible says God allows bad things to happen to test our faith and resilience. Through adversity, individuals can demonstrate their trust in God and deepen their connection with Him.

James 1:2-4 says:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

What is God’s Purpose For Suffering?

Check out these “Why does God allow suffering quotes?” These men and women have learned to trust God in their darkest hours.

Most people in ministry have significantly suffered and turned their circumstances around to help others. Once you read these words of inspiration, you will see how God uses suffering for His good.

Why Does God Allow Suffering Quotes From Christian Leaders

Some people want to know why suffering is important in Christianity. These quotes may give insight into what suffering does to Christians who follow Jesus. It strengthens their testimony and makes them an excellent example for others who need hope.

Why does god allow pain and suffering quotes:

“Pain removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul.~ C.S. Lewis

I am not a theologian or a scholar, but I am very aware of the fact that pain is necessary to all of us. In my own life, I think I can honestly say that out of the deepest pain has come the strongest conviction of the presence of God and the love of God.~ Elizabeth Elliot

“No matter what precautions we take, no matter how well we have put together a good life, no matter how hard we have worked to be healthy, wealthy, comfortable with friends and family, and successful with our career — something will inevitably ruin it.”~ Tim Keller

“When you suffer and lose, that does not mean you are being disobedient to God. In fact, it might mean you’re right in the center of His will. The path of obedience is often marked by times of suffering and loss.”~ Chuck Swindoll

“It may be difficult to understand why a test comes our way, but we must never forget that the test is accomplishing refining and purification.”~ Billy Graham

“Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world. So long as you can sweeten another’s pain, life is not in vain.”~ Helen Keller

“They gave our Master a crown of thorns. Why do we hope for a crown of roses?”~ Martin Luther

“God’s sovereignty is so complete that He has wells of water [in the desert] already set before me even before I ever get there.”–Priscilla Shirer

“Those times when you feel like quitting can be times of great opportunity, for God uses your troubles to help you grow.”–Warren Wiersbe
“God will not permit any troubles to come upon us unless He has a specific plan by which great blessing can come out of the difficulty.”–Peter Marshall
“At the timberline where the storms strike with the most fury, the sturdiest trees are found.”–Hudson Taylor

 

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Hopefully, these beautiful quotes have answered your questions about why God allows pain and suffering. You can see God’s glory through these people and their trials. Look how God has used them for a greater purpose.

While you may not understand it right now, you can trust God because He is good.

I Peter 1:6-7 ” Do be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold” (NLT).

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What Is God’s Purpose For Suffering?

If you are still asking, “Why does God allow pain and suffering?” then think about this: God has a purpose for your suffering, which is a good purpose because He is good.

Before you start down an angry path, ask God what He is trying to teach you. And then join His plan.

It will be much easier if you and God row in the same direction, even if it feels like you are rowing toward a waterfall. As long as God is in the boat, you will never drown.

The biggest takeaway is to trust God no matter how painful the suffering.

He is in control and has a better plan than you can imagine. It doesn’t matter if you have brought on your suffering with your own mistakes. He can still use it for good.

Romans 8:28 says, ” And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (NLT).

Why does God allow pain and suffering? It is because of love. And He works the most beautiful stories through our pain. Tell me your story. Comment below. 

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In it, I share my own experience of a seven-year estrangement from my Christian family and how we eventually reconciled. Furthermore, I provide practical advice to help you navigate your family issues.

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Julie is a wife, mom, teacher, author, and blogger. She writes about Christian family living, marriage, parenting with a touch of humor.

20 Comments

  1. Elizabeth Elliot was right, pain is necessary. We don’t get out of life without it. For many we let it divide and isolate, for others it makes us more apt to relate to fellow sufferers. This is a great blog post on pain. It’s a great reminder and perspective shift.

    • Laura, thanks so much for your comments. I do find that suffering is a difficult pill to swallow. I’m still not a fan of the whole thing, but I’m learning to trust God more in my pain.

    • Emily, it was a great encouragement to write about this. In fact, I go back and read it when I’m feeling down. Thanks for your comment.

  2. This is super inspirational. I love the elements of faith throughout the post. I don’t think God allows us to suffer, but rather allows us to come to Him when we are so that we can get through it! I think its just a part of life that without suffering there would be no compassion, and He doesn’t cause it, but rather wants us to seek Him and He helps us get through! 🙂

    Natalie
    http://www.thegracereal.com

    • Natalie, thanks for your comment. I do know if God allows suffering, but not sure if He causes it. It seems that the story of Job is a direct example of God telling Satan to do whatever He wants to Job except for death. Is that “allow” or “cause”? I don’t know. But I know that in either case, God uses pain to draw us back to Him. Hard thing to work through, huh?

  3. What inspirational words1 Suffering is something everyone experiences in life and it is in those moments of suffering where we start to get a glimpse at our individual truths

    • Wander woman (love the name), thanks for your comment. Yes, we sure can find truth in suffering. The greatest Truth is Jesus!

  4. What an amazing and exceptional post! I absolutely agree with what you put up in this post . No one love trials /tribulations and from my experience in life , It actually prepares us for greater purpose ahead of us in our lives . I love this post and I want to appreciate God on your lives . This pose has to go viral so a lot can understand that God is a good father . He won’t let us pass through what can kill us . Never .

    • Lambam, thank you for your thoughtful insights. I am just now learning about God’s love and what it entails. I think so many people get tripped up on how a good God allows pain, but then they forget that real love means free will. (Control is not love, therefore he would never make up puppets). Free will means pain. Unfortunately, some pain is not our fault. We have to deal with the fallout though. And that is where He shines best.

  5. Madi Rowan Reply

    What an amazing read! I agree with everything you said! Periods of suffering definitely happen throughout the course of life. But no doubt, suffering results in a great deal of learning, patience, & strength.

    -madi xo | https://www.everydaywithmadirae.com

    • Suffering is definitely not on my list of things I want to do, but I can say I have learned a lot. Mostly, how much we need Jesus.

  6. I think we go through trials and tribulations because we live in a fallen world and we just have to deal with the consequences of that. I believe God is a loving Father that will never want to see His kids suffer. His love for us is bigger than the love we have for our kids or our parents. That’s why I know that is never God’s will for us to suffer in order to grow, learn and mature. We have the Word of God to help us with that. I completely agree with the lessons we can learn from our sufferings because God uses everything for our good. Great post!

    • Caroline, thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. Yes, we definitely do suffer consequences because we live in a fallen world. I can say as a parent that I have stepped back and let my kids follow through with their own way only to see that they needed a little pain for growth. God is love, but sometimes it is tough love.

  7. Julie, what a great reminder that as Christ followers we must expect suffering and that through suffering Christ will be with us, providing and protecting us, as we are refined and transformed. Most people would do almost anything to avoid suffering altogether, but when we call ourselves believers we need to look at suffering through a different lens.

    • Anne, it is amazing how God’s economy is so different from the world. He who loses his life shall find it. such a deep meaning in that verse. Thanks for your comment.

  8. What a beautiful post! I completely have experienced drawing closer to my Jesus more during suffering than in good times. AND He has stepped in miraculously many times. It does make me quick and joyful to share and also brings others hope. I also look to others for their experience through things I haven’t gone through before, and I find lots of hope in Jesus when I do that. ❤

    • Donna, thank you so much for your sweet remarks. I am so glad you have a good understanding of suffering. God does step in miraculous ways when we think all is lost. Many blessings to you.

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