If God is Good, Why is There Evil and Suffering?

great-questionsHave you seen any drug commercials lately on TV?  I was watching the Texas Aggie football game vs. UCLA last Saturday and a commercial came on for a drug to lower blood pressure. In these commercials they try to paint this wonderful picture of this drug; then I guess they’re required by law to talk about all the side effects.  I couldn’t believe my ears or eyes as they went through these!  I even went to their site just to be sure! Here they are:

This drug they advertised may cause serious side effects, including:

  • Ketoacidosis(increased ketones in your blood or urine). can be life-threatening and may need to be treated in a hospital.  Call your doctor right away if you get any of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, stomach-area pain, tiredness, or trouble breathing.
  • Kidney problems. Sudden kidney injury has happened.
  • Serious Urinary Tract Infections: may lead to hospitalization and have happened.   Some people may also have high fever, back pain, nausea, or vomiting
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Signs and symptoms of low blood sugar may include: headache, drowsiness, weakness, dizziness, confusion, irritability, hunger, fast heartbeat, sweating, shaking, or feeling jittery.
  • Broken Bones (fractures):Bone fractures have been seen in patients.
  • The most common side effects include: vaginal yeast infections and yeast infections of the penis; changes in urination, including urgent need to urinate more often, in larger amounts, or at night.

No thanks! I’d rather take my chances.  Also, it’s crazy to me that a drug for low blood sugar can cause low blood sugar!

It struck me as I was watching those commercials that life ought to come with warnings about side effects:

*Every baby when they’re born ought to have a little tag on their foot with the warnings or the side effects of life on this planet.   On one side it would talk about all the wonderful things about life.  Life can be full of wonderful adventure and joy.  Then on the other side it would mention the side effects.  There are side effects to life.  There is pain.  There is suffering.  There is heartbreak.  There is disappointment.  There are broken relationships.  There is crime.  There is victimization.  There’s abuse.  There’s even death.

In fact, Jesus did warn about this.  In John 16:33 He said, “In this world you’re going to have trouble.  You’re going to have tribulation.”  Did Jesus say, “we may have trouble?” No, it’s not optional, but a certainty.  “You will have trouble.”  But Jesus didn’t address the question of Why.  And that is the question that has been on peoples’ minds since the beginning of time.  Why is there pain?  Why is there suffering?  Why do bad things happen to good people?  It’s gone back to the beginning of time.  We can see it in the Old Testament.  That was the cry on the lips of Job.  “Why is there suffering?”  That was the cry of the psalmists as they wrote.

Some people say that we are “evolving” as a race or becoming “more civilized” if that’s true then shouldn’t we have less evil and suffering?  The truth is we have more.  In the last 50 years we’ve seen a world war, the holocaust, and continued war all over the planet with Viet Nam, Korea, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria to name a few.  Not to mention the devastating famines that took place in Africa, the emergence of AIDS, the genocide in Rwanda and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.  We’ve seen all this and we want to know why.  Why pain, why suffering?

George Barna who’s a public opinion pollster sort of like George Gallup did a study, a national scientific poll, in which this question was given:   “If you could ask God one question and you knew He would give you an answer, what would you ask?”  And when he gave the results the number one issue on peoples’ minds was, “Why is there evil and suffering in this world?”  With the huge compilation of all the statistics I did find one interesting statistical quirk.  It showed that people that had teenagers in their house were much more likely to want to know why there is so much suffering!

But seriously, this is a very real issue.  You like me have gone through pain.  Maybe its the loss of a child or an illness.  You’ve had suffering.  Like me, you’ve seen loved ones who have gone through pain.  And I really wish I could give you the perfect answer from God on this issue but I can’t.  What I can do is give a little bit of light on this subject.

1 Corinthians 13:12 says “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; Now I know in part; then I shall know fully.”   Like stepping out of a shower and the mirror is all foggy, its a “poor reflection.”   If we desire to see our reflection in the mirror we have to wipe off the fog.  The problem is that in this world at present we can’t wipe away the fog that shrouds our understanding about certain issues like. “why is there pain and suffering?”  It’s important for us to understand that, “now, I know in part.”   Continuing with the fog example, Have you ever driven in heavy fog and you can’t see anything in front of you?  For me, besides just pulling off the road and giving up, my only hope is for the fog to lift or someone to pull in front of me with fog lights that knows where they are going!  Then I  can see their tail lights dimly and I can follow them!

In a similar way, that’s how our understanding of why there’s pain and suffering in this world works.  We may not be able to make out all the peripheral answers in terms of why.  The answers may be hard to see by our limited or foggy ability to understand.  But there are some key biblical truths that are illuminated to us through scripture.  I want to share three.  And if we keep our eyes on those three points of light – just like the taillights– I believe they will take us to a place of understanding where our hearts and our minds can be satisfied.

In the next post we’ll examine these three points of light.


For more about the series, Great Question please visit: www.RidgeFellowship.com

About dkoop

Lead Pastor of Upwards Church: Leander & Jarrell, TX
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