“I won’t thank a god who allows such suffering!”
“How can anyone be thankful with all the tragedy and pain in the world?”
“If God is all-powerful, why does He allow bad things to happen to good people?”
Those questions are completely valid, and difficult to answer. A being powerful enough to be God is infinitely beyond my comprehension. Theologians have grappled with these questions for centuries and I’m no theologian, HOWEVER, I think I get an inkling of an understanding of this issue when I look at God as Father.
Loving parents never want their precious children to suffer. We protect them from pain and harm whenever we can. But there are some times when we must allow them pain for their own good. When we must give them distasteful medicine to cure their ailments, or let the doctor give them painful inoculations in order to prevent diseases, we cringe at our child’s distress, but force ourselves to carry on, knowing the long-term benefits outweigh the temporary unpleasantness.
This same concept applies to necessary parental discipline and even to allowing our children to deal with unfairness and hardship. Children raised by hovering “helicopter parents” and who are cosseted, indulged, and protected even from the consequences of their own mistakes and choices, grow up into weak adults, unable to handle the slightest difficulty or failure.
Loving parents want to raise competent, resilient, contributing adults. Sometimes that means standing aside, even when our every instinct is to rush to their aid. The old expression, “this hurts me more than it does you,” is often true.
Keeping in mind that God the Father places our eternal spiritual development above our mortal comfort, we can see why He might find it necessary to allow us to suffer. Like any parent, He aches to see our pain, wants to comfort us, but knows it will pass and sees the long-term benefits.
I never want to downplay the tremendous grief and heartache anyone might be going through, but I firmly believe our pain is never a sign of God’s indifference.
Romans 5:3 (ESV)
… we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,