This series has sought to answer the question: Why do people suffer? This question is an important question that has plagued God’s people throughout history. Job, the Psalmists, and the prophets all deal with this difficult quagmire.
Today, people in the world continue to struggle with this question. Atheists state the existence of suffering is proof that there is no God. However, Christians see suffering in a different light. This paper hopes to help Christians deal with this question in light of Scripture. In doing so, we have looked at the general cause of suffering, specific causes of suffering, the value of suffering through what it teaches us, and the value of suffering in what it teaches us about God.
In terms of the general cause of suffering, we went back to the creation to see God’s original intent. God originally intended that man would live on His creation, receiving God’s love and fellowship, and reciprocating the like. This meant that man had to have the ability to choose whether or not He would live in community with God. Man chose to disobey God and rejected His love and fellowship; thus man and our world was placed under the curse. Therefore, the basic reason for people suffering today is due to the sin of man. Man’s sin caused evil to enter God’s good creation and thus brought suffering in the world.
As for specific causes of suffering today we looked at seven. These are: 1. One’s own sin causes suffering. 2. The sins of other’s causes suffering. 3. The natural laws of our world cause suffering. 4. The discipline of God causes suffering. 5. Suffering is caused to test our faith. 6. As Christians we will suffer. 7. Suffering is mysterious. Each of the specific causes of suffering have value in teaching us necessary truths to aid us in our journey to heaven. The two common truths to all types of suffering are that they give us opportunities to have greater faith in God and opportunities to serve our fellow man.
Finally, we have learned that suffering teaches us how patient and longsuffering God is. If God was not patient and longsuffering then we would not have any times of goodness in our lives, because our sins deserve to be constantly punished. However, since we are not constantly suffering we see that God is longsuffering and patient with us.
All of these show us that suffering is caused by man but also teaches man to get right with God. God did not intend for us to suffer, we choose that path with our sin. However, God now uses the suffering in our world didactically, to help us in our journey to the “New Heaven and New Earth.” Why do men suffer? The answer to the question is our own sin, and to help us with our relationship with God.