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Topic: The Love of God

The Value of Suffering

by Darrel Cline

We have been discussing (128) the linkage between the love of God and the presence of evil and suffering in this world. Some people have said that God is not loving because He didn't prevent the entrance of evil and suffering. Others have said that God is loving, but not powerful: He could not prevent the coming of evil and suffering, though He would have if He could have. Both of these conclusions are inconsiderate blasphemy.

They are blasphemous because they deny fundamental truth about God. They are inconsiderate because of the lack of logic that exists in them. Men have decided that a person who can stop evil and suffering should, but God never said that. In fact, God has said in many ways and in many places that it is more righteous to NOT oppose evil and suffering in some cases (You don't believe me, huh? Check out Matthew 5:39). It is an undeniable fact of history that God sent His own Son to Calvary to die in order to let us have the experience of eternal life. This is love without resistance to the evil of the murderous intent of those who crucified Him. It is inconsiderate to say that God isn't loving when He could prevent the evil and doesn't. It's also blasphemous. If He had prevented the evil done to Jesus, we would all be destined to Hell.

On the other hand, to claim that God would have prevented evil if He could have is to deny the most obvious fact of our experience: the power of God. The Bible says that God simply spoke the entire universe and all that is in it into existence. Paul wrote that one undeniable fact that all men know in their gut is that the Creator is infinite in His power. It is inconsiderate to claim that God is loving but not powerful. It is also blasphemous.

Why is the issue of the presence of evil and suffering such a problem to men? Because they are so unlike God. God is love. Men are selfish. The reason suffering is such a problem to men is that they don't want to suffer--not for anyone, not for any time. God is not like that. He volunteered to take the suffering of man upon Himself for eternity so that He could give men the gift of eternal life. If men loved like God loves, they wouldn't have any problem at all with suffering. He embraces it; they flee from it.

But why is suffering here? Because men need it to be here. Men choose to rebel against God. Suffering always results from rebellion against reality--which is what God is. Men are very often moved to cease rebellion by the things they suffer. It is good for them to cease to rebel, so it is good for them to suffer. For example, if we put our hand on a hot electric stove element, the suffering causes us to move our hand. That is good, because if we didn't move it we would lose it. The same thing is true of life. If our evil didn't cause us to suffer, we would never stop it. It is good for us to suffer some. We need to quit blaming God for loving us enough to allow us to suffer for our own good.

It takes faith to live that way. Do you have enough faith to endure your suffering without blaspheming God?

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This is article #132.
If you wish, you may contact Darrel as darrelcline at this site.