On Pain and Suffering and Evil…
If I hear another person say that God caused Hurricane Rita, or that God caused their loved one to suffer some illness or that God caused their loved one to die…I might just scream! God didn’t cause Hurricane Rita and he didn’t take your loved one from you. So many times we humans see these aspects of painful human existence and when there is no one we can blame or we just don’t understand, we just blame God by default. (Both Christians and non-Christians are guilty.) The fact is human existence is caught amidst two dynamics. Dynamic #1 – nature is wild and untamed and the human body is decaying. Dynamic #2 – human nature is bent towards evil. These two dynamics cause our pain and suffering. Hurricane Rita, a loved one dying from disease…such natural disasters are the results of the wild and untamed natural order of physical nature. 911, rape, murder and mayhem, are the results of the bent in humanity’s spiritual nature..
These things being true…how can I blame God for any of my pain and suffering? Should He be at fault just because He can stop the suffering? Maybe He does not stop it because pain and suffering are constant reminders that He does exist. CS Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” It is not that God causes pain and suffering but that He uses them as tools by which to administer healing. The Bible says that the “rain falls on the just and the unjust,” but it also says that ALL things work together for the good of those who LOVE Him. So if you’re suffering, that’s nothing new, all humans suffer. But if you truly love God then there is great hope in your pain, because not only can you ask God to ease your suffering or to help you understand His ultimate plan in it, but you have the sure and abundant hope that God is in the process of taking your lemons and making lemonade.
So where is God in your pain and suffering? He is right were you put Him. Have you given Him your lemons or are you trying to blame Him for the fruit you bear? (Whether your lemons come from the evil within you, the evil in the world, or from the natural untamed chaos of nature, lemons are lemons are lemons…so again I ask, have you given him your lemons, or are you trying to blame him for the fruit you bear?)
(this featured article was written in may 2007)