Eph 1:11-14

How can God be all-powerful and all-loving and yet there is so much suffering in the world? Surely if he is a loving God, then he is obliged to do something to end the suffering of so many people? The actual answer to this seeming contradiction within the nature of God is that God has provided for an end to all suffering! It is just that the people of the world refuse to cooperate with his plan. And there is the ultimate reason why there is still suffering in the world – namely that people choose to exercise their freewill in ways that give rise to the suffering of others. Is then the gift of free will evil? Of course not! Without freewill there would be no meaning to life or love or anything that separates human beings from the rest of the animal world.

We cannot have it both ways! People cannot expect to do whatever they want whenever they want without having to endure the consequences of their actions. Unfortunately, the choices I make also impinge upon the lives and freedom of others and so I can cause suffering to others for which they are blameless. God cannot choose to stop this sort of suffering without removing our freewill, and as I noted above, that would mean human life would be meaningless.

The answer to the problem of suffering rests not in the hands of God but in the hands of human beings, more specifically, in the choices we make. If we choose not to sin, moral suffering will be eliminated from our lives. As to physical suffering, there is a good argument that the first cause of this was also sin! (See Genesis 3:14ff) The suffering caused by natural disasters and illness are problematic from the point of view of asking whose fault they are, but if we were all living according to the plan of God for our lives, perhaps this type of suffering would also be eliminated. Whose fault is it that people choose to live under a volcano or in an earthquake or flood prone area? Once again, such situations are the result of human choices.

I do not have an easy answer for the suffering caused by illness – perhaps we just have to view it as a part of life and that we are not yet living in a perfect world.

Do I willingly entrust my life to the will of God? If not, why do I find this so difficult?

Lord Jesus, help me to believe and act upon the truth that you always desire the best for me and that the best choice I can make in life is to submit my life to your will.