Why does God allow suffering? This is a difficult question to answer. Personally, I am not a fan of suffering, much less suffering well.
My flesh wants to lash out in anger when I experience pain, but my heart calls me to dig deeper.
You see, for many years I thought God was cruel and mean. Since I have experienced some emotional healing, I now see God more like a loving Father.
However, sometimes loving fathers allow their children to feel some pain. If you have kids, you probably already know this. In fact, when our kids don’t understand or feel suffering they become entitled and spoiled.
We aren’t much different as a child of God. If you follow Jesus, you are going to experience some suffering for the same reasons. God can’t use spoiled, proud, entitled children who think only about themselves. He needs children who will die to themselves for a greater purpose.
In this post, I am going to answer the question, “Why does God allow suffering.” Let me tell you right now, there is a purpose! Perhaps after you read this, you will see the light at the end of the tunnel and have hope in your darkest hour.
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How Did Jesus React to Suffering?
Jesus is the best example of how to react to suffering. He suffered the greatest, and He did it well.
Can you imagine being the ruler of all the universe and then coming down to earth in the form of a little baby to be the lowliest of all?
He could have been born to anyone, anywhere. Instead, He chose to be born from peasants who had nothing. Furthermore, He chose to be born amongst stinky animals and put in a feeding trough instead of a bed. What a way to enter the world!
He chose to be mocked, ridiculed, and beaten. He chose to die on a cross for sins He didn’t commit. He suffered the most painful death possible. And He did it willingly.
His suffering had great purpose. He did it just for you and me.
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Why Does God Allow Suffering? 5 Good Reasons He Allows Pain
Why does God allow hard and painful circumstances in the lives of his people? While I can not completely answer why you are suffering in your situation, I can give you the positive effects of suffering. Hopefully, this will help you endure until the end of your trial.
1. Suffering draws us closer to God
Why does God allow 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 know, change the circumstances and remove the suffering. However, God sees it as an opportunity for us to realize we cannot save ourselves. We need help.
God allows suffering so we will draw closer to Him. When we grow, we become more like Jesus. However, it takes a little pain to prompt us.
Personally, I didn’t learn how to pray intensely until I hit a crisis in my own life. I had nowhere to turn but to God. And He answered through prayer. I am so grateful I ran to Him instead of away from Him.
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! Most likely, there was a point of crisis or need that made you bend your knee to the One greater than you. In fact, you were probably suffering from pain.
Fortunately, our brokenness is the very thing that creates a beautiful testimony and, by the way, the greatest way to share Christ.
If you are asking, “Why does God allow suffering” then think about the future. Perhaps all the people you will help someday.
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.
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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 and self-absorbed creatures full of pride who don’t like to be inconvenienced.
Basically, we don’t think we need Him.
When we suffer pain, we start looking outside of ourselves. We have to admit we need help and humbly submit to God’s way instead of our own way. Sadly, some people are stubborn and may need more “field trips” than others.
Do you recall the Israelites going around the mountain for forty years? Yep, field trip.
Malachi 3: 3-4 says, “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, 4 and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years” (NIV).
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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. Even failing is a part of that process.
Honestly, I think failure is a better teacher than success.
There are so many more lessons to be learned when we don’t get things right because, generally, we are paying 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.
So why does God allow suffering? Check out this scripture. It may help you clearly understand why God allows crises in our life.
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 where God has intervened in miraculous ways through suffering. Perhaps, it wasn’t always the perfect outcome, but God made Himself known throughout the trial.
When I am down, the first thing I do is look at how others have made it through their time of suffering in pain. I like reading stories of triumph, heroes that have overcome all the odds, or how ordinary people cope with the hardest of circumstances.
Most of all, I enjoy reading quotes from famous people who have suffered in life.
I don’t feel so alone when I hear what they have been through. It gives me hope for my own circumstances.
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.”
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Why Does God Allow Suffering Quotes
I think you will find these quotes on suffering quite revealing. These men and women have learned how to trust God in their darkest hours. In fact, most people who are in ministry have suffered greatly. Once you read these words of inspiration, you will see what I mean.
Quotes From Christian Leaders Who Have Suffered:
Some people want to know why suffering is important in Christianity. These quotes may give you some insight into what suffering does to Christians who follows Jesus. It makes them stronger, more powerful with their testimony, and a great example for others who need hope.
“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
Hopefully, these beautiful quotes have answered your questions about suffering. You can see God’s glory through these people and their trials. Look how God has used them for a greater purpose. They encouraged me. How about you?
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 the question, “Why does God allow suffering,” then think on this thought: God has a purpose for your suffering, and it 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 make it much easier if you and God are both rowing 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. In fact, 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 G9d 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 suffering? It is because He works the most beautiful stories through our pain. Tell me your story. Comment below.
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20 thoughts on “Why Does God Allow Suffering? 5 Good Reasons He Allows Pain In Our Lives”
Great post! I truly feel like suffering brings us lessons.
Lauren | https://laurelandiron.com
Yeah, I don’t enjoy the pain but do like the growth. God is still good even in the bad. Thanks for your comments.
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.
Thanks for being willing to dig deep into such a complex topic!
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.
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, 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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.