God + Suffering = ?

03 Feb

c3olormanprayingIf God is God of all, why is there pain? Why suffering?

Our pastor—going through a sermon series in which he addresses questions of the congregation—had the difficult task of tackling those questions yesterday. He made me think harder, pray more, and consider the Word again…which is the best kind of pastor!

He shared a story of being called to another city to baptize a newborn. The baby had been born with severe brain defects and would only live for two days. The situation begs the question, “Why, God? Why create this?”

I have had three miscarriages. Each time, I cried out to God. Aren’t children a blessing? Did I not love Him enough? Was I not “good” enough to be blessed with another child this side of Heaven? I wrestled. My husband wrestled.

There have been other difficulties in life, of course. I am an abuse survivor, as is 1 in 4 women in this country. If you’ve read other writings of mine, you know other tough situations that came and went. I’ve also had the privilege of praying with and walking with some of you through stormy circumstances.

Why does God create that?

I think it’s the wrong question.

God created a perfect world, including humans. Perfect. Without any blemish. Everything in working order. Harmony. Peace.

We broke that.

We chose to use a perfect gift He’d given us, free will, and turn away from Him.

We broke perfection.

We’ve been breaking it for generations.

When I lose a child within my womb, when a friend of mine suffers through vision abnormalities, when I witness the breakdown of my dear father-in-law’s body to Parkinson’s, or when a child is born and dies within two days from defects, I no longer ask, “Why, God?” Instead, I look in a mirror.

I did that.

You did that.

Millions of us did that.

God did not create imperfection. He set out to create perfection and, each time we see otherwise, we see the repercussions of generations and generations of breaking and breaking and breaking and breaking. How dare we lay that at His throne?

This groaning that erupts when we encounter the fallout of our choices and the choices of those who came before us – death, sickness, destruction, war – is a direct response to the groaning of the Holy Spirit within us believers. Just as it pains me to see my child hurt for his choices, it pains God to see us hurt when we use His gift of free will poorly. How much more it must pain Him to see us walking around amidst fires, famine, disease, and carnage – heaps of unholiness wrought for thousands of years by humans He created. Humans today being burned by choices made generations ago.

God desires the perfection He created.

We cry to God, “Fix this! Save us from our own consequences!” We sound like the Israelites in Judges 10, “We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think is best, but please rescue us now!”

And, sometimes, He does. That very next verse in Judges says, “Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the Lord. And he could bear Israel’s misery no longer.” The rest of the chapter talks about how He led the Israelites to defeat the people that had been hurting them for 18 years.

Other times, the story He is weaving for all of mankind won’t allow for the miraculous removal of brokenness in the present. In those times, we read and re-read Romans 8:28. We stand on it. We cling to it. We find rest in it. “All things work together for good to those who love God, who have been called according to His purpose.”

We like to focus on how much God loves us. He does. More than we can comprehend. But when we encounter sickness and death, I believe it is important that we not fall for the twisting trap of satan and ask how a “loving God” creates sickness and death.

I think we must look upon and walk through that experience with the full knowledge that we created it.


Posted by on February 3, 2014 in Life Lessons


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4 responses to “God + Suffering = ?

  1. Linda

    February 3, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Thank you, Rebeca. Good insight. Man never wants to take responsibility for the evil and hurt he sees. God is a good God and wants good things for his children just as we do for ours. There is a deceiver, also. But when we ignore Satan, when we choose his enticement, then we are choosing to reap what we are sowing again. The Lord tells us to have our senses exercised to discern good and evil–and that comes from knowing what’s in His Book.

  2. Rebeca Seitz

    February 4, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Linda! I absolutely agree – reading and learning the truths in the Word grants us discernment like nothing else.

  3. Victoria Grace Howell

    February 19, 2014 at 12:43 am

    Awesome post! I’ve had this theory for a while and it’s neat to see someone else have it, because as one who has also gone through a lot of hardships I also asked God “Why?”

    Stori Tori’s Blog

  4. Max Taylor

    December 16, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    This is a late response, but the question should be, why did God create someone like Adolf Hitler next to people like Mother Teresa and Robert Baden Powell, when that seems to consign Hitler to eternal suffering? If Hitler and the rest of us all had Mother Teresa’s disposition, we would all choose righteously and the world would be full of peace and prosperity. But if we are God’s “children”, maybe he didn’t create us from nothing. Maybe he formed us from something and is in the process of growing these somethings into something beautiful and righteous. If God had created us from nothing, surely he would have created us all to have eternal joy with him, because he is all powerful and all knowing and because he IS “love.” Seems to me to say otherwise is to say God lost control of his own creation, because most of the world is in suffering.


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