“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later”— Romans 8:18 (NLT).
“Why does God allow bad things to happen?”
When one of my readers posed this question via email, I turned to scripture. I wanted to give an honest answer as best as I could. I didn’t want to rely on my knowledge or give a flippant reply.
We seek answers when a child is taken away from his parents too soon because of a rare disease or a freak accident. We seek answers when a college student perishes in a car crash on her way home or when a loved one receives a Stage 4 cancer diagnosis and faces a regimen of treatments with no guarantee it will help.
God never promised Christians a pain-free life.
Writer Avery Foley, who holds a masters of arts in theological studies, wrote the following in an article: “One of the most common questions believers and unbelievers alike ask is why a loving and all-powerful God would allow bad things to happen. When many believers are asked this question, they freeze, not knowing what to say. Or they weakly reply, ‘Well, we don’t know why bad things happen, but we need to trust God.’ But those of us who start with the right foundation, God’s Word, have a solid answer that is based in the history of God’s Word. But those who don’t start with God’s Word have a difficult time providing a satisfactory answer to this important and often emotionally charged question.”
Foley points out we need to begin with Genesis, appropriate because the first words of this book say, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
In the beginning, God declared everything He created as “good,” even His final one—the creation of Adam and Eve. If everything He created was good, what happened? Most know this story, even unbelievers. The couple had the run of the garden. God gave them free will but expressly forbid eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. We know the rest of the story—they disobeyed and were expelled from the garden. Mankind has suffered since that day.
Out of His love, however, God provided a solution to our problem. Because of sin, mankind made a mess of things, but He fixed it. His Son, Jesus Christ, who lived a sinless life and chose to die on the Cross for our sins, didn’t stay dead. Through His resurrection, Jesus defeated sin and death, offering eternal life to all who repent and put their trust in Him.
God never promised Christians a pain-free life. In John 16:33, Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Whatever we are going through—the unexpected loss of a loved one, a diagnosis of disease, the end of a relationship—Christ is the answer. We may not always understand His reasoning for these trials, but He brings comfort and hope.
Our suffering is only temporary, nothing compared to the glory yet to be revealed.