You've probably heard a skeptic friend, schoolmate, officemate or family member ask this question: "If God is so good, why does He allow good people to suffer?" God has been accused for the most heinous of crimes- terrorism, genocide, unjust ruling and corruption.
But if you look closely at the conclusions and accusations made towards God, we'll see how they are lead by some wrong assumptions that twist what the truth is. What is the truth? That God is a good, loving, merciful and just God who wants nothing but the best for people.
So why does it seem like the opposite is true when we look at the reality today? Children starving, women being raped, families being slaughtered by terror acts. Let's look into some foundational truths in attempts to understand more what's going on in the world and whether it's really God's fault.
It's hard to watch innocent lives become victim to cruelty, but the first thing we must establish is what is "good" and what is not. When God created the world He made all things good, but man's sin was what defiled all things. As a result everyone has now been stained with sin. Whether small or grave, sin is sin and the Bible tells us that the proper wage for it is death.
Romans 3:10 tells us, "as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one." But in God's goodness and grace, He gives life still. And He offers it freely. On top of that He also offers life everlasting for those who freely accept the gift of Christ. When it comes to goodness, God's standard is very much different from ours. But even with that standard, He still allows His goodness to shine.
Who decides who suffers?
The biggest misconception to suffering is that we think it's always God's choice. But is it really? One of God's most generous expressions of His love was to give man free will. Joshua 24:15 says, "And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell..."
Suffering is never the choice of God. It can be the choice of the person who suffers or the choice of someone who inflicts suffering, but it's never God's choice. God's plan is to give life and life to the full (John 10:10).
Without God there is only bad
The most plausible reason to why there is suffering in this world is because this world is broken and has become void of God's presence. In the absence of the glory and rulership of God over certain areas and lives, there can only be bad.
James 1:17, however, assures us, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." God is the giver of life and of every good gift. And God promises that one day He will come in all His glory to make things right. Eternity puts into perspective our suffering because in God's sovereignty He allows suffering for but a fleeting moment only to bring eternal joy and satisfaction through Christ.