If God loves us, why does He allow us to suffer?

I just read your little devotion on Why Christians suffer. It has been something that has been nagging me and making me question my faith. I don't want to feel this way. I know God is good and He has been soooo good to me my whole life so I feel very guilty for this. But i know that if I keep pushing this inside and ignoring it, it will never go away and it will take away from my daily victory in Christ. Can you help me out a bit please? If you have learned anything about this in your own walk with God, I'd greatly appreciate to hear it from you. Thank you for your time reading this letter. May God bless you richly.

My response is in Green:

I can give you a couple of general observations I have made. First look at the persecuted church, the Christians in China and India for example. Those churches (bodies of believers) are growing and becoming stronger. They are reaching people like never before. Yet they are in danger every day. They have few Bibles. It is not uncommon for them to have one Bible for a whole home church. They will rip the Bible apart and everyone will take a different book. They will memorize the whole book so that when they meet the next time they can give it to someone else and get another one to read and memorize. Many of them are beaten and locked up for long periods of time because of their faith. Many are killed in front of family and friends. I heard of one man who was beaten in the town square, then they cut off his legs and arms while he was still alive. He cried out to God to forgive them and help them accept Christ, as he died in the street. Some reports say that over 1,000 people came to Christ that day because they saw what faith this man had.

Now look at the church in America. It is fat and flabby, most Christians don't open their Bibles except on Sunday and in many churches you don't need a Bible because they never read or quote from it. We have the freedom to worship and to own as many Bibles as we want. One statistic I read recently says that the average Christian home in America has 5 Bibles. Yet people have no idea what the Bible says. Many mainline denomination churches no longer teach the inerrancy of scripture, they don't teach the virgin birth, the don't call anything sin anymore. They make people who attend feel good by not addressing those hard issues of sin and eternal punishment. Most people in the US don't believe in absolutes. This includes Christians. Many believe that to steal is wrong unless you are very hungry and you only steal food, etc...

Here is my point. If we can look at a group of people whose life is hard and they are suffering, yet they are growing closer to God, don't think that God does not know that is how it works too. Secondly if we can look at comfortable Christians and see that they are getting farther away from God everyday, don't think God does not also know that. So if God knows these facts and He loves us and wants us closer to Him, might it not stand to reason He might through some trials and hardships in our path so we will lean on Him?

My point is, I know God does love us and wants what is best for us even if we don't realize that best is not always the most comfortable. I think that could include individual suffering too. Plus we should never discount the effect of living in a fallen world, where there is sin and disease. (Matthew 5:44-45 NIV) But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, {45} that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Could it be also that evil, disease and suffering affect the righteous and the unrighteous alike? The difference is that God will walk with us through our times of trial.

Well that is my observation. I hope it helped a little bit.

Ralph

(Isaiah 57:1 NIV) The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.

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