People have been asking why God would let suffering into the world for thousands of years. In Psalm 22, the psalmist asks God why He has forsaken him. Psalm 73 asks God why good people suffer while evil people are prospering.
Here’s the thing…God didn’t create a world of suffering. He actually created a perfect world. Genesis 1:31 says that God saw what He made, and it was good. However, God created the world not be unchanging and static, but to be dynamic. The pinnacle of this is His creation of human beings. God gives the responsibility of taking care of the earth to human in Genesis 1:26-30.
We all know what happened next. Humans rebelled and sin entered the world. Everyday we rebel against God too. This is where we led the world. This is why there is suffering. We cannot blame God for our choices. One of the cool things about the Genesis story is that after we sinned, God didn’t abandon us. Genesis 3:21 says that God made garments out of animals for Adam and Eve to cover their shame.
The book of Job also tackles the question of why there is suffering. The first part of the book describes how great Job’s life is. The scene then changes to heaven and a discussion between God and Satan. God tells Satan how faithful Job is and Satan says that Job is only faithful because of how blessed he is and if his life was horrible, he would curse God. God agrees to let Satan ruin Job’s life in order to test him.
Job’s life is utterly ruined in a short period of time. Job 2:13 states that three friends just sit with him for a week and say nothing, just suffering with him. Finally, in Job 3:1-5, Job curses the day of his birth. The following chapters deal with the conversation between Job and his friends about why all this suffering happened to Job.
In chapter 38, God finally shows up. God speaks to him and essentially says, “Who do you think you are? Are you God?” Job is rebuked and tells God he is unworthy.
So what do we do when someone is suffering? Chapter after chapter of Job’s friends debating the why of it certainly didn’t accomplish anything. I think they had it right at the beginning, just sitting with him and sharing his suffering. The good news is that God provides us an answer to suffering. He has a plan to redeem His creation. Jesus is God’s answer to suffering. Where Adam failed, Jesus succeeds. God is leading us toward healing so that is why we have hope. We won’t be in this situation forever. God is bringing us and His creation back.