When we consider suffering, sometimes we ask “How can a good God exist if suffering exists?” . People can take a pessimistic view on the goodness of God in light of suffering. They may believe that it is impossible for a good God to exist if our world has suffering; or they may conclude a good God exists but He is not powerful enough to rid suffering.
Yet the Bible tells us God is Good (Psalm 136:1) and He is Sovereign (Colossians 1:15-17). Is the Bible lying? How can a good and sovereign God exist when the world is full of suffering?
As we dive into this topic it is first important to know that if you are experiencing adversity, Jesus Cares. Jesus’ entire life on earth showed compassion to those facing hardship. He began his first recorded sermon in Matthew 5 by focusing on those who were facing adversity.
- “’He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.’” (Matthew 5:2-4)
However, while Jesus cares about our suffering we still need to further examine how a Good and Sovereign God exists in a world of suffering.Quite honestly, ff God claims to be good but does not have ultimate authority over suffering, he should not be followed.
If you have encountered the statements of Christ in Scripture, you see Jesus calling his followers to a life of Adversity. Jesus plainly taught that following him would not make life easier but rather harder (John 15:20). His first disciples faced tremendous persecution for their faith in Christ.
The bible calls us into suffering.
- Colossians 1:24 24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.
- 2 Thessalonians 1:4 therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.
It is interesting to know, the word for witness in the New Testament is “Martus”. This is the same word from where we get Martyr. Why would Christ Call his followers to such hardship? Why would Jesus endure such suffering on earth? The answer is because God is sovereign and Good. When it comes to suffering this one truth that is important to know and believe. In the midst of our hardship we all need to embrace the authority and power of our God. No matter how much we suffer, God is bigger than all of it. None of our suffering will be in vain. In Psalm 56:8, we find that God is aware of every tear you cry. In his power and sovereign nature, he is aware of all the suffering in the world.
- “You keep track of all my sorrows.You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” (Psalm 56:8)
In addition, Jesus triumphed over the grave which shows God victorious over death. Resurrection and Redemption is God’s demonstration that no suffering will be in vain. Resurrection and Redemption is God’s picture of his Goodness that is able to overcome all evil and pain. He restores and heals.
- 1st Corinthians 15:57-58 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.
The Bible declares that while we suffer with Him, we also shall be raised with Him. When we are humiliated with Him, we shall be exalted with Him.
- 2 Timothy 2:11-12 For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; 12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him;
- Romans 8:17-18 if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
The cross of Christ shows us that suffering is not in vain. Sovereign God overcomes sin and death and uses it for good. Christ’s suffering was not useless. God redeems the world through his death and suffering. Just as God uses Jesus suffering for good, the Bible tells us in Romans 8:28, he will do the same thing for us.
- Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His
In the Old Testament, Joseph endured hardship and suffering, and he took comfort in a God who was good and sovereign. He said…
- Genesis 50:20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”
Just because suffering exists, does not mean God doesn’t care. It does not mean that God is not good nor that God is not sovereign. In fact, the opposite is true. God cares about your pain. He became flesh to defeat it. God is so powerful, he can and will triumph over all pain and suffering of his people. He will use it for good. Sometimes our pain seems so deep that we cannot conceive of a way that God can triumph over it. We cannot imagine how our pain will not be in vain. Yet, so did the disciples. When Jesus was crucified, they ran away. However, when they saw his resurrection power, it gave them incredible boldness. God is the ultimate overcomer.
- Revelation 21:3-5 Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
If you have yet to trust in God, He is Good. He came to pay for your sin on the cross so that you could experience his goodness for eternity. Triumph in him, Experience his glory, and trust in Him. He loves you, died for you, and wants you to experience an eternal joyful life with him starting today. Ask Jesus to rescue you and save you from a sinful fallen world. Ask him to save you from yourself, we all live in bodies of decay.