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Why does God allow pain, suffering and evil to exist?

Updated on June 11, 2013

I don’t like to be called religious; because I am no better than you. In fact, you are probably better than I will ever be. However, I do love my God and strive to live the life He planned for me. So when God is blamed for all the evil in the world, I have to respond. Don’t blame God.

It’s my fault.

Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Before you cast the first stone, look in a mirror, because it’s your fault too.

Every single one of us is to blame. It is our choice. God told us how to live a life without pain and suffering. (That’s what all those rules are for in the Bible.) Then he gave us the freedom to choose if we were going to follow them or not. We don’t; we can’t. We all make choices that hurt ourselves or other people and we have all been hurt as the result of other people’s choices. Pain and suffering is the cost of our freedom.

Joshua 25:15 – “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…”

Romans 5:12 – "Therefore just as sin entered the world through one man, (Adam) and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned-“

We each have the ability to choose how we live our lives. God does not force us to believe in Him and he doesn’t force us to obey Him. It is up to us to decide what we do with our lives. We decide how we react to the people and circumstances we are faced with. This is an awesome gift, but it comes with a price: sin. We all make choices that go against God’s will for us, resulting in sin. And with sin, comes pain and death. Our choices have consequences. They affect other people, they affect the world around us and they affect our inner being. This has been going on since the beginning of time. Adam’s choice to willingly disobey God planted the seeds of evil in all of us. The world was never the same. But don’t be too hard on Adam. Given the right set of circumstances, it would have been any of us.

Ps. 51:5 – “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”

Psalms 5:4 – 6 – “You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong. You destroy those who tell lies; bloodthirsty and deceitful men the LORD abhors.”

Romans 8:18-22 – “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (20) For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”

The world is steeped in sin, crippled by it. Sin infiltrates everything, it’s in our very core. We pass it on to our children; even nature is affected by it. The earth groans under the burden of sin we have put upon it. This wasn’t the way it was meant to be, but God had to allow it in order to give us the gift of free will. In fact, God hates sin. It breaks His heart to see us live in so much pain and suffering. We live in a fallen world, a world of sickness and suffering where we are surrounded by evil. But don’t blame God for it, our freedom is precious; we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Rev 21:1 – Then I was a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.”) (Rev. 21:4- “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Isaiah 25:8- “He will swallow up death forever. The sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he wil remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth.”

Romans 12:19-“Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: :It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”

This does not mean that God is powerless, unable to fix the world. The day will come when He will fix it all and we will live in perfect peace and harmony. Until then, He demonstrates his great power by using our painful circumstances to make us stronger, more mature. He uses our trials to show us His love, to teach us, to bring us closer to Him. Don’t worry, God sees what the evil man does. He will get His revenge on the wicked; in time they always pay. We can trust that He is in control and nothing will happen to us that He doesn’t know about and have a plan for.

Deuteronomy 31 : 6 – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid of terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Psalms 118:5 – 7 –“In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The LORD is with me; he is my helper.”

Hebrews 13:5,6 – “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

God has not deserted us. He is there when we are overwhelmed with our pain. He cares about our suffering. He loves us in spite of our sin. Jesus died for us so our sins could be forgiven. If we accept that, He promises that He not leave us but will help us face anything we are going through. He promises to give us the wisdom and strength we need to grow in our faith.

So if your heart breaks when you see the world is not fair, when the innocent die and the evil man wins, know that God’s heart breaks too. When a baby is born diseased, and children starve in the streets, God cares about them all. When the tornado sweeps through the city and the tsunami crashes over the island, God is still there. God loves us dearly and wants us to love Him too. But it wouldn’t be love, if we didn’t have a choice. Unfortunately many chose to reject God and live life for themselves, regardless of the hurt they cause others. That is why there is so much pain and suffering and evil in the world.


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