Why does God let us suffer?

Answering another question from Jon of Hawk Nelson.

There are multiple parts to this answer and I am only going to cover a few. First, in order to understand why God allows suffering, we need to understand where suffering comes from. Suffering is a result of the curse on creation because of Adam’s transgression against God… when Adam disobeyed God, he abdicated the position God had placed him in as Prime Minister & caretaker over all creation and became a slave to sin. By obeying the serpent, Adam handed his authority over to Satan.  As a result, the entire human race became slaves to sin, death and suffering entered into creation.

Secondly, since suffering is now part of our earthly existence & experience, the LORD uses it as to instruct us and develop our character. Through suffering we learn empathy, compassion, patience, endurance, humility, the consequences of sin (both ours & others), and ultimately we learn obedience.  

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” ‭‭James‬ ‭1:2-4‬ ‭NASB‬‬ https://www.bible.com/100/jas.1.2-4.nasb
“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:10‬ ‭NASB‬‬ https://www.bible.com/100/1pe.5.10.nasb

Finally, the LORD uses suffering to show us His own love for us and the depth & breadth of His commitment to making salvation available to each of us through His own suffering. 

In John’s gospel we read: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” ‭‭John‬ ‭1:2, 14‬ ‭NASB‬‬ https://www.bible.com/100/jhn.1.2,14.nasb
And in Philippians we read: “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:6-8‬ ‭NASB‬‬ https://www.bible.com/100/php.2.6-8.nasb
“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭NASB‬‬ https://www.bible.com/100/heb.2.10.nasb

So, until the LORD puts a final end to sin, suffering is a part of our reality and experience. But God is able to use suffering to teach us eternal lessons, shape us into the image of Christ Jesus our LORD, and prepare us for His kingdom. 

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