Compassion and the problem of evil and suffering
"Why does God allow suffering?"
If a loving and powerful God really exists, why doesn’t He do something about all the evil in the world? This is a tough question that I still struggle with at times. One thing that has helped me with it, though, is the realisation that the evil isn’t all out there in the world. There is evil in here, in you and I, too. If God decided to get rid of all the evil, He’d have to do something pretty radical with us – he’d have to destroy us as well.
God created us with the ability to love and follow Him or to reject and turn away from Him. We chose to rebel against Him and to follow our own inclinations. The Bible explains that we "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God".
And then the Bible adds that "the wages of sin is death…" Knowing that we are all part of ‘the evil’ that people say ‘God should do something about’ gives us a new and important perspective.
The Bible also does say that God will one day judge all evil. Nobody will get away with anything. But right now, He is patiently giving us an opportunity to turn to Him and receive the forgiveness and life that He offers.
Contrary to what we might first think, the existence of evil should lead us toward belief in God, not away from it. If we are alone in the universe with no God, then there would be no standard of right and wrong. There would be no ultimate consequence or value in anything that we do. Our lives would be as insignificant as that of an ant.
We would have come into existence by chance, and whatever we do would have no meaning or moral value, positive or negative. Some people claim to believe that to be the case, but it’s impossible for them to consistently live out that belief. As soon as they protest that someone has 'wronged' them or that something is 'unfair' or 'not right' they betray their belief in standards that are ultimately above all of us – standards that come not from ourselves, but from the One who made us.
- © Taken from Contagious Christianity handbook p104-5 by Bill Hybels. Copyright © 1997 by Bill Hybels. Used by permission of Zondervan.