Thursday, January 31, 2008

Why do people suffer?

Or, more accurately, why does God let innocent people suffer? God being all knowing, all loving, and all powerful, why doesn’t He do something to relieve their suffering?

Over the Christmas and New Year, I have met a lot of suffering people: children with varying degrees of handicap in Hong Kong, orphans in Gansu, people in Gansu who are not orphans but abjectly poor nevertheless, people suffering and dying from cancer in Hong Kong, ... And I got asked this question many times, in its various forms, explicitly and implicitly.

Of course there are answers to the question. Suffering builds character. Suffering brings a family closer. Suffering brings out compassion from people. Suffering brings us closer to God. Sometimes we really don’t know the answer - yet. But we humans are impatient. We want the answer now.

However, patience is an important virtue. When we watch a movie, we often cannot guess the ending, while we are only half way through. We do need to sit through the movie to find out what happens to the bad guy, and the good guy, in the end.

So, in the midst of our own, or someoneelse’ suffering, it may be immensely frustrating not to know why. But we do need to trust that God knows best.


an old friend said...

If everything we have is endowment from God, are we in the position to say God is unfail? Moreover, no one knows the arithmatic of life. When we do a screen on vendor product, a spread sheet is usually provided for us to grade the vendors on different features or attributes of the product or the vendor itself. But not all features or attributes share the same importance. So we put in different weights for these features/attributes. You never know if the correct weight is given to everything that are given to us, it may just add up to the same value.

StephenC said...

Some of us know God enough to realize that we are in no position to judge Him.

Until a person comes to know God, however, he/she may continue to demand that God gives an account of Himself. Essentially saying: "Show me that you are worthy of my belief"