We can expect God’s ways to be more comprehensible than incomprehensible, because we are made in His image. God’s reprimand to Job in Chapter 38 was not because God is unexplainable but perhaps because Job assumed if you acted righteous, as he did, then you can aspect God’s blessings. Job’s friends assumed suffering was a direct result of individual sin. Both assumptions are misguided. To understand why God doesn’t stop more sufferings, we need to understand how a free world and God get along
God allows suffering because He values freedom. God is not the originator or orchestrator of suffering. Suffering was not some grand scheme by God so He could ride in on a white horse and save the world. Suffering results from personal or natural evil. Much of suffering is either self inflicted or inflicted upon others by lawless and cruel people. God allows suffering because genuine love can only emerge when one is free to reject it. Parents, as God, attempt to persuade their children to reciprocate their love for their own benefit. Suffering had to become part of God’s story if He was to allow freedom.
God allows suffering resulting from evil because He values mercy and forgiveness. The alternative is instant judgment. God does not destroy at the first sign of opposition. God tolerates evil than instantly judges, though justice is served eventually for victims, to change this chaotic world through their own free will. God’s intervention to suffering resulting from evil is the slow, necessary way of the Incarnation. Jesus’ life and death was an attempt to persuade and empower as many as possible to treat others as they wish to be treated. Ask yourself – what kind of God sacrifices His life on the Cross so we can feel freedom from guilt, so we can be all God created us to be?
God allows suffering as a megaphone to distract us from our own selfishness. It is not always wise to prevent our children from suffering consequences, whether self-inflicted or the result of a fallen world. Preventing suffering delays the growth process. Suffering enables us to not fall in love with temporal existence and love what the world offers. As long as I am not looking to blame God for my suffering, I am a better person for the prayers He doesn’t answer than does answer. Suffering forces us to look to God and His perfect ways, which happens most often during adversity than prosperity.
God allows suffering as a megaphone to enable us to better serve others. It is not necessarily true that if God instantly stop all suffering, the world would be a better place. After a miracle, many just go back to their old self-centered ways as if the miracle never happened. Jesus’ sufferings than miracles is what really changed hearts. Our sufferings than healings can do the same in the lives of others. Undeserved suffering, such as insults, can make us more sensitive to others in similar situations. Personal sufferings enable us to be trusted by others, because we have “walked in their shoes.” We can trust Jesus because He has faced and conquered all the adversities we face.
The truth is we will never be satisfied until there is no suffering at all. What is sicker or more evil than torturing and killing millions of people simply because of their nationality or the family they were born into? What is more horrible than when an adult sexually abuses a young child for years, threatening them if they tell anyone of their dirty little secret? Evil is evil, regardless of the magnitude or how many humans are impacted. God’s constant interference according to His or our standards would make a farce out of freedom.
Many may assume God is causing or controlling their suffering, thus focusing on “why or what is God punishing me for.” Tragedy is hard enough without wondering if God is out to get you or “God, do you really love me?” God does not lose control because sufferings are not caused or controlled by Him. It can be more comforting that God does not cause our suffering, that God grieves when we suffer, that not even God avoided suffering though He could have, that God will walk hand-in hand with us through any tragedy and work to bring some good from it (though he does not orchestrate evil to accomplish this), that God promises an end to suffering as He has conquered death.
How we answer “Why, God?” in times of distress is critical to our relationship with God. We are tempted to blame God for suffering rather than receive His comfort. God forbid disputable understandings of God’s role in suffering drive people to unbelief or despair. If we accept God does not cause suffering, we may still need to understand or accept how God has chosen to respond to suffering. He obviously does not stop a great deal of sufferings. God not interfering with suffering may be the only way to love the greatest number of selfish people back to unselfishness while preserving freedom. People depend more on God during uncertain times. Dependence than independence from God is always a better thing because of who God is.