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

By June 30, 2015 17 Comments

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.


  • Andrew says:

    “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!

  • James Grenville Chatelier says:

    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.

  • Solomon Musa Ochidi says:

    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?

  • Tim says:

    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.

  • kaka says:

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

  • Cyril says:

    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.

    • Tim says:

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

  • katie says:

    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.

  • Alituwa Mwase says:

    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

  • Paul Kilimi says:

    True. It is especially more painful when you suffer because of someone else’s recklessness. God have mercy on us!

  • Lenjo Julius peter nsameluh says:

    God will and will never allow such pain in the world,has god not given us everything we need and desire,but yet we can not help children on the road side,poor families, how many million do u and I have have in accounts, how many million do we consider as nothing or how many millions are available ton buy instruments of war than to help eradicate suffering of our own brothers and sisters,man is egoistic ,man can’t help his fellow man,critically look at the poor children suffering in Africa ,is it because Africa is poor?No is because we are not human to our fellow human ,but let remember the story of nazarus In the bible.share the little u have,that is christian love.Manifest god loves for u to others, in action and not in word.God listens to us and answers us any time we call on him,but we have failed to listen to the cry of our brothers ,when they call on us for help.God created the world out of love for his children, let us manifest that love to each other,for by doing so,God will always be with us and remain in our hearts

  • Friedrich says:

    If only men would look for the Kingdom and it’s righteousness, everything else would come along by itself. But men look for everything else and forget to look for the Kingdom.
    If there are 20 industrialized countries and we’re destroying the planet it means just that, too much of everything.
    God put everything on earth for all to enjoy but greed makes some people want to profit for their own benefit.
    Follow Jesus thru the gospels st. Mathew thru St. John 10-15 min and pray the rosary daily as well, start with 3 Hail Mary’s.
    Pray for Our Lady’s intentions and her Secret Plan She’ll pray for yours.
    Pray to St. Joseph daily 7 Our Father’s, 7 hail Mary’s and 7 Glory be’s.
    St. John Paul ll said to ask for the grace of sanctity or holiness daily.
    Guilt can be healed by asking for the grace to heal it.
    Also watch the lives of Saints on you tube, read their lives preferably written by a contemporary Saint.

  • Cesar Banzas says:

    I think God does not interfere with human’s affair. He created man and left us on our own freewill to decide how are we going to live our lives. Everybody dies in different ways, circumstances and ages. God is maybe watching us, feeling us, living with us, suffering with us because our body is God’s temple. God maybe allow all these things to happen for us to learn with our experience.Our temporary life on earth could be a lesson learn.God will, maybe, unite us someday with our loved ones who passed away ahead of us and wipe our tears away and say” Now you know what’s like to live without Me”.

  • Cesar Banzas says:

    I think God does not interfere with man’s affairs. God created us and left us on our own .We are God’s stubborn, spoiled children. We want to live our lives our way.And because God loves us so much He gave us our freedom, a freewill to do, to decide on our own. But a loving God is watching us, feeling us, and suffers with us cause our body is God’s temple. God allows these things to happen for us to learn.Everybody dies of different circumstances and ages and whatever we would be going through in this life would be a lesson learned.One day He will unite us all together with our loved ones whom He called ahead of us. He will embrace us and wipe our tears away and say” Welcome home my child,now you know what’s like to live without me.”

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