Why do good people suffer?

Written by Ian and Tom on Wednesday 21/02/07

Why do good people suffer?

This morning I was told that Lorral, the wife of the doctor up in Gilgit Pakistan, has breast cancer. This family has spent 16 years in that harsh environment of Gilgit with lots of problems and difficulties.

You may find Christians who will respond to that saying "Oh it's Gods will". I just want to bite their heads off and shout at them: "Your God is too Ugly!" I can not believe in a God that deliberately afflicts people with cancer, because if you follow that train of thought then every Christian that gets raped, gets crippled in car crashes etc.. is caused by a calculating God who has removed all freedom of choice.

By contrast, the model that I see in the Bible is that of Father/Mother-child relationship. Where God is the perfect father/mother not like our fallen ones: a Father that knows how to nurture us and give good presents... cancer, disease - I think not! He came to us to ease us from these things.

He doesn't want His children to suffer. I see him crying and suffering right alongside us sinners, he doesn't spare Himself any of our pain. If we take another look at the NT, and the parables Jesus told about his Father, who ever heard of a shepherd looking at the wolf attacking the sheep and saying "it’s not my problem, that's just the way it is".

Those people with the "Oh it's Gods will" have a simplistic world view that is dressed up to look Christian that provides easy answers to life’s sufferings but show me one person who has suffered or is suffering that is comforted by those words and that type of theology.

Whilst we can be sure that God will win the final war, there seem to be plenty of small battles that don't go His way (at least initially) and this is one of them.

We live in a fallen world were cancer lives and grows freely. It strikes Christian and non-Christian alike, there is no special shield that protects even the best of his workers let alone sinners like you and me. Freedom of choice allows people to drive dangerously and kill/maim other people.

So how do we respond? As Christians we are to use the tool we have: prayer.
Asking for healing, whether it be miraculous, instantaneously, or the long and slow path which is led by God guiding the treatment.
Asking that God will turn bad into good as he did on the cross. Asking that God will use this terrible attack by the enemy in some way, to deflect these attacks and subvert them into something good.

"Attack" you say. Yes attack. Who knows where the attack came from, but if we accept there are angels helping us, then we have to accept that there are also demons with power of sorts. If we accept that God can do good things then we have to accept that the other side can do bad things. If we believe that God can heal, then we have to accept the other side can cause hurt and suffering.

Can God help after the fact? For sure, He can - and does - heal, but this is the hard road, the road of faith, and this road takes guts, persistence and heart.

Please take just a couple of minutes to read Ephesians 6:10-18
Our defense, our weapons, our amour all come through reading the word of God and praying. It’s not "Oh it’s Gods will" it’s "Oh God help me in this time of trial".