Why do people suffer?
- The fall of Adam meant that disorder was brought into man as sin corrupted his human nature and brought death to him as well as the world, this is a result of the curse of the earth. The Bible states that ‘thorns and thistles’ were introduced into the land. These thorns and thistles have been cited to refer to a general brokenness and disruption in the world’s natural balance and order.
Through the free will man has been granted people can choose to inflict suffering on others, we can even go as far to say that the choices that we have made to pollute our environment that cause changes to our climate have consequentially caused earthquakes and other natural disasters. Ultimately though God may allow the suffering for our sanctification, this does not mean that He caused it.
- We also need to address our understanding of suffering and its purpose
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” – 1 Peter 5:10
Suffering is a theme that is repeated numerous times in the Old and New Testament.
“But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” – 1 Peter 4:13
‘“My son, do not despise the chastening of theLord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom theLordloves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.Furthermore, we have had human fathers who correctedus,and we paidthemrespect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastenedusas seemedbestto them, but He forourprofit, thatwe may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” – Hebrews 12:6-11
It is clear from these verses that Christ always intends suffering to work for good and to work for our sanctification and holiness. So we are to view suffering as a grace.
“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world” – C.S Lewis
“ It is precisely through undergoing many trials and temptations, through grief and suffering, and through patiently enduring them, that a man acquires experience. As a result he comes to know both his own weakness and the power of God. In becoming aware of his own weakness, and ignorance, he recognizes that he has now learned what once he did not know. This allows him to see that just as he used not to know these things, and was unaware that he did not know, so there are many other things which he may later be able to learn.” - St. Peter of Damaskos