Reasons for Suffering

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The great philosopher C. S. Lewis once wrote: “They say of some temporal suffering, ‘No future bliss can make up for it,’ not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into glory” (Keller 34). How can agony and suffering be turned into glory?

Suffering is a term that is closely related to the concepts of evil and pain. The verb, suffer, means to undergo or endure. Suffering is linked with the experience of anguish or misery in which humans are aware of the hardships of their intent or function. Suffering, with its biological and psychological matters, may be the result of moral evil where human sin leads to affliction (injustice, greed, war, rape, exploitation) or of natural evil (droughts, floods, earthquakes, accident, illness). Suffering, as a state of mind, may also relate to circumstances of places, possessions and people rather than evil (Atkinson 823). Suffering may be due to unrelieved pain, not all pain, as a physical state, necessarily means suffering.

God allows us to suffer upon earth. He does not, however, make us suffer. It is our own faults, because of sin, which we suffer. Suffering is caused by sin, which is the rebellion of creation that God had made for us. Sin and suffering are related to each other and also go together. Sin produces suffering, which we can then assume that all suffering, somewhere and somehow, is caused by sin (Henry 651).

The Book of Job says important things about suffering. Almost everyone at some point in life asks, "Why do bad things happen to good people? The Book of Job does not really answer the question, "Why is there suffering?" But it does show right and wrong ideas and feelings about suffering and the meaning of life (online). Job is a man who is wise, rich, and good. Then suddenly terrible things happen to him. His ten children are killed. He loses all his wealth. And he becomes ill with a painful skin disease. Three friends come to visit him, and they try to explain to Job why these bad things have happened. They tell job that sin caused his suffering and God was punishing him. Job insists it is not true, but no one believes him. Job becomes very discouraged and angry but he still believes God cares about him, although he may not understand why he must suffer so. In the end, God answers Job in a whirlwind, reminding him that humans can never understand how great God is. After Job hears God speak, he says, "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. (Job 42:5-6 KJV)." Job realized that his trust in God should not depend on what happens to him. God says that Job's friends did not know what they were talking about. Finally, God restores Job's health, makes him twice as rich as he had been before, and gives him ten more children. This book tells us that God is in control of everything that happens to us. Satan can only do what God allows him to do, within reason of God letting him do it. And when God allows suffering He has ways of making everything turn out okay in the end. Romans 8:28 says to us, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Our part is to trust God and ask him for strength and comfort, in whatever we go though. God has said in His Word that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). The question in Job is how to read his suffering back to his sin, his suffering as against the apparently easygoing life of his friends. The book of Job does not give any specific answer except to calm the opinions of his friends and it opens possibilities in the greatness of God. Better things are at stake and better things will happen to Job and his friends (Henry 651).

Another example of suffering in the bible is the story of Joseph. Joseph was the favored child of Jacob, who was the grandson of Abraham. Joseph had a bunch of brothers who hated...
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