EVIL & SUFFERING... WHY?

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Is God Fair?

Why? “Why did this person do this?”

“Why did this horrible tragedy take place?”

“Why didn’t anyone do anything prevent this?"

All of these questions ultimately lead to the issue: Why does God permit such evil to exist in the world?”

This question has plagued prophets, kings, philosophers, teachers, preachers and pundits alike. More than 2,600 years ago the prophet Habakkuk leveled this very complaint against God. He cried out, “Why do you idly look at traitors and are silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?” (Habakkuk 1:13). Centuries before Habakkuk, a man named Job cried out to God asking a similar question: “Why do the wicked live, reach old age, and grow mighty in power? Their offspring are established in their presence, and their descendants before their eyes. Their houses are safe from fear, and no rod of God is upon them” (Job 21:7-9).

“Those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”

1 Peter 4:19

The prophet Habakkuk sought an answer to his question about the fairness and goodness of God in the presence of unthinkable evil, suffering and injustice. The answer that he found is the same answer that we still find today: God is Sovereign and is at work in human history to accomplish His plan (Jeremiah 29:11). And, in spite of what may suggest the contrary, His ultimate good will triumph.

Like Job, Habakkuk discovered that God is neither indifferent nor insensitive. He is neither apathetic nor absent. In the midst of the worst catastrophe, God is present. He is at work for the good of His children, and He is full of compassion to comfort them in the midst of their tears.

Though neither Job nor Habakkuk had all of their questions answered, they found an unassailable comfort and hope in the midst of their most unimaginable suffering. They discovered the sovereignty of God even in the face of tragedy. This is why we do not lose hope: God’s goodness, justice and righteousness will ultimately prevail even when our circumstances appear to be hopeless!

This side of eternity, we will never know the answers to all of our “whys.” We can and do know that God is at work, even in the midst of a tragedy. Like Habakkuk, we can declare:

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.” 

Habakkuk 3:17-19

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”

Psalm 34:4

God Uses Suffering in Our Lives 

  • To expose our sin (1 Peter 4:1–2) 
  • To build our character (Romans 5:3–4) 
  • To produce much good (Romans 8:28) 
  • To change our perspective (2 Corinthians 4:8–10) 
  • To bless our future (Matthew 5:10) 

 

God Cares about Your Suffering 

  • He is close to you when you are brokenhearted. (Psalm 34:18) 
  • He stays around you in the midst of trouble. (Psalm 34:7) 
  • He keeps a record of your grief and keeps hold of your tears. (Psalm 56:8)

 

The Sovereignty of God 

  • Seek God in prayer for discernment in your circumstances. (James 5:13) 
  • Open your heart to God with complete honesty about your feelings. (Psalm 55:22)
  • Gain an eternal perspective of God’s purposes for your present pain. (John 9:3) 
  • Never allow bitterness to grow in your heart. (Habakkuk 3:17–18) 
  • Turn to the indwelling Christ, who provides you with His power for victory. (Philippians 4:13) 
  • Expect God to change your life through the truth He reveals to you. (Psalm 119:71) 
  • Realize that God is all-powerful and sovereign over your circumstances. (John 19:11) 
  • Expect God to work through all things to prove your faith and to bring Him praise, glory, and honor. (1 Peter 5:10) 
  • Invest time in studying Scripture and in prayer. Yield to God’s sovereignty. You may never understand or have any answers for your suffering. (Proverbs 3:5–6) (Lamentations 3:32) (Psalm 119:15–16) 
  • Verify your belief in God’s love for you.  

“He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.” 

(Daniel 2:21) 

 

Key Verse to Learn 

“Those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” 

(1 Peter 4:19) 

 

Key Passage to Read 

Romans 8:18–25 

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