*Why does one teenager die in the car accident while another walks away without a scratch?
*Why does a faithful, believing father suffer with a debilitating disease while an uninvolved, unbelieving father lives to a ripe old age without any health issues?
*Why does one family birth 5 healthy, typical children while another family births 2 children with severe disabilities?
*Why does one house get totally destroyed in a tornado while the house next door only has to repair a fence?
*Why does one child live to adulthood while another dies of leukemia at a young age?
*Why does a disloyal, dishonest man still make six-figures while another man full of integrity loses his job and struggles to provide for his family.
*Why do millions of couples have abortions each year while many Christian couples desire to be parents but cannot conceive?
Unfortunately I could go on and on. God knows I’ve had a hard time trying to understand His sovereign plan. Although we live in a fallen, sinful world (Romans 5:12-14) and that Satan is the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4), God is in control over all things that happen. Why does He allow so much pain and suffering? The answer: He has an ultimate good plan in it all (Romans 8:28-29). He's not about making us comfortable which is temporal; but He desires us to have Christ-like character which is eternal. Many times we will not like or understand what He allows, but we must remember that He is the All-knowing and All-perfect Creator and we are fleeting, imperfect creatures. For example, Job definitely knew about suffering and He questioned God. God responded, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2). Then God went on for 4 chapters questioning Job and describing God’s sovereignty. At the end, Job humbly responds by saying,
"I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 'Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? 'Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know” (Job 42:2-3).
However, even knowing these truths doesn’t make it any easier to endure the sting of suffering. I like what Elyse Fitzpatrick has to say about God’s goals in our suffering. She says:
• God permits troubles so that we’ll experience His comfort and learn to comfort others and trust Him and not ourselves (2 Cor. 1:3-10).
• God permits tribulation so that we can grow in hope (Rom 5:3-5).
• God permits trials so that we will grow in holiness (Heb 12:10-11).
• Troubles are the seed-bed where faith grows (1 Peter 1:7).
• Experiencing God’s help through our trials strengthens us (James 1:3-4).
• God wants our character to reflect Christ’s (Rom 8:28-29).
• Troubles humble us and cause us to run to Jesus (I Peter 5:5-7).
• Our suffering produces God-focused rejoicing (I Peter 4:13).
(Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety p. 133-134)
In conclusion, the two things that believers must always remember when we are suffering are: 1) God is with us and 2) God loves us dearly! So, as each us endure pain in this short life, may we look forward to the day when God will dwell with His people and “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Rev. 21:4).