At the Village Festival, this was a question which someone posted on our “If Jesus was here today what would you ask him?” board. I know it is a question which many people ask at various times of life. If God is a God of love as Christians believe then how can he allow so much pain in our world? We will never fully understand this during our life on earth. But the Bible and Christian experience can shed some light on it.
Firstly, pain is not all bad – it alerts us to a problem in our bodies – and if our ability to feel pain is removed by a disease such as leprosy then it is very dangerous as we can then seriously burn or injure ourselves without noticing until is too late. But that is not much comfort to those suffering from chronic pain.
In Genesis we see how suffering initially resulted from Adam and Eve rebelling against God. In Revelation we see that the next life will be free from all pain. In this life, much pain results from human wrongdoing – it may be the results of our own actions or the actions of others – or it may just be part of living in a fallen world. It is generally unhelpful to try to attribute blame for pain which we are suffering – whether blaming ourselves, others or God.
Pain and suffering can bring out the best or worst in people. In the way we respond to physical or emotional pain we can learn much about ourselves, about other people and about God. In our pain we may reach out to God and search for truth in a way that we would not if we were comfortable – and we may also find what is really important to us and to those around us.
On the cross, Jesus suffered excruciating pain – both physical and emotional. God loves us and knows what it is like to suffer pain. Try asking him to be with you in your pain – be honest with him about how difficult you are finding it – and listen to see what response you receive from your loving Heavenly Father.