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Why does God allow so much pain and suffering in the world?

This question wells up from the heart when we observe the hurting around us, and when we feel the hurt within us. To the person who is in the midst of suffering, no answer seems fully satisfying, and I certainly don’t pretend to have a complete answer here. But I will make a couple of comments.
In the first place, we need to understand that all pain is the result of sin in this world. Sin is that which breaks our relationship with God, and brings destruction and death into the world. Note that I said, “All pain is the result of sin in this world". It’s not necessarily the result of personal sin in the life of the sufferer. Disease, natural disasters, birth defects, and countless other causes of pain, may result from either personal sin, or the evil in this world generally. We often feel pain for things over which we have had no control. Let me also say here that my knowing the reason for pain, and God having a reason for pain are two different things. God’s purpose for allowing pain in my life is not dependent upon my knowing what it is.
Having said that, we can note that there are a number of ways in which God uses pain and suffering for a greater good. 1) Sometimes God uses pain or evil to warn us against a greater pain or evil. As a child, I remember various dogs on the farm getting run over on the road. Even though that saddened me, it also reminded me to be careful when crossing a road. Pain may keep us from self-destruction. In his insightful book The Gift Nobody Wants, Dr. Paul Brand gives numerous examples of how pain protects us from doing things to ourselves that would be self-destructive. His years working with leprosy patients taught him the horrors of a life without pain. The destruction of a limb occurs quickly when a person loses the sensation of pain, which serves to protect it from harmful activity. 2) Pain can produce within us good character virtues. We may gain patience, sensitivity, compassion, and many other terrific traits by undergoing pain. One who has experienced a certain type of suffering, is often well-equipped to comfort others who experience it. 3) Pain gets our attention, and often causes us to look to God in our helpless state. English author C.S. Lewis put it well when he noted, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."
Are you suffering now in some way? Let me encourage you to turn to Him who created you and sent His Son to die for you. He has not forgotten you, and is with you in your pain. For all who trust and follow the Savior, the pain of this life is only temporary, and He will one day bring them into His presence where “there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain…" (Rev. 21:4). Thanks for reading and have a great day.



  1. Andrew Reply

    “All pain is the result of sin in this world" So what you are saying is God punishes mankind for sin by allowing human suffering. This type of analysis I feel it totally wrong. God is very loving, caring and compassionate. Having someone suffer would not make Him happy. This debate has gone on since the beginning of time. I have no answer and “all” whom claim they do are only speculating. God is a very loving God!

    1. Dan Reply

      And humans are very sinful creatures, authors of most of the pain in the world.

  2. James Grenville Chatelier Reply

    The picture that was posted, showing skeletal children in a state of starvation, brings tears to my eyes. All of my Prayers are for them, the innocent. I feel helpless, so Prayer is the only answer. May God in His Mercy shower them with His Abundant Blessings. Amen.

  3. Solomon Musa Ochidi Reply

    If Adam and Eve were the first human beings created, who was Cane afraid of when he was asked to roam the earth as punishment for killing Abel? Where did he get the wife to marry, and even went ahead to establish a city (Village, town or whatever), as the story went. Are we descendants of Cane, or did Adam and Eve have other children after Abel? If so, did the marry themselves, or how did they multiply?

    1. Mike Reply

      Solomon they marry their sister.

  4. Tim Reply

    I found some of the explanations on this issue conflicting with catholic teachings. A little girl dies of cancer. What lesson does she learn from months of pain? She’s already dead. Okay, so the lesson is meant for the parents because of (possibly) their sins. So what of the little girl? She didn’t have a freewill to choose to come into this world and die in pain.
    “Sometimes God uses pain or evil to warn us against a greater pain or evil.” This is absurd. Is this why God didn’t kill Lucifer and other angels when they rebelled against him? God left them around so he could use them to warn/punish man? He planned this all along before he even created man (Adam and Eve)?

    Catholic needs more priests and nuns to work with dying people and find a better explanations or just say that we don’t know. Just like Pope Francis said he would ask God himself and the answer God might give is “even my son suffers.”
    Or use Buddhism explanation, it is because of your filthy previous life.

  5. kaka Reply

    true , but why let other people especially the children suffer for the wrong doing of others when in fact that its not their sin .

  6. Cyril Reply

    Man’s suffering is a reminder to us that perfection only comes from God himself. When all men become perfect and whole, the suffering of this world will come to end.

    1. Tim Reply

      Correct. Perfection only comes from God. We, humans, are also from God. Yet, we’re full of weakness and sins.

  7. katie Reply

    God has a reason for everything and we all need to learn to trust him this was just their view as to why people suffer but in reality no one know so please people stop criticizing.

    1. Angelica Reply

      Amen! Let’s love one another as God loves us.

  8. Alituwa Mwase Reply

    Thanks and glory be to God Almighty, created of heaven and earth, God the omnipotent, omniscient and the omnipresent and peace to us all his creatures.

    May we O lord find favour in your sight that we may be pardoned of all our sins, be delivered from our present sorrow and be brought to eternal joy.

    Through Jesus Christ our lord we pray. Amen

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