The Problem Of Suffering For Believers In God

As we saw in the units headed THE PROBLEM OF EVIL and THE ORIGINS OF EVIL, evil and suffering are really only a problem for those who believe in God. For at the heart of the mystery of unjust suffering is the challenge:

•  If God is all loving, why does he allow godly people to endure evil and suffering?
•  If God is all powerful, how come he doesn't intervene to stop the suffering?

While this sounds a pretty convincing challenge, it fails to take into account the mystery of God and the mystery of suffering.

The Challenge For Job

The challenge for Job is either to curse God and die, or to continue to trust God's goodness/ righteousness/justice in the midst of undeserved pain.

Question: Why cancer? Why me?
Answer: Why not me? It's just the result of living in a fallen creation and among fallen human beings.

The problem lies in the apparent injustice of God, which underlies satan's attempts since the Fall of Man to cast doubt on God's goodness and justice.

Job's Response To Suffering

Job's response to his suffering may be summarised as follows -
•  He continues to trust God in spite of everything
•  He wants to meet God and put his case to him to show him how unfair it all is
•  He expresses his absolute confidence that God will vindicate him
•  He also shares the feelings of those enduring unbearable suffering when he says he wishes he had never been born and can't wait to die.

The Response Of Job's Friends

Job's friends show a range of behaviours
•  from simply sitting with him in silence day and night for a week  ie just being there for him,
•  to  offering a variety of so-called explanations as to why bad things happen to good people, which only serve to heighten Job's misery.


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