This post is all about why God allows suffering
Suffering is something that we all experience at some point in our lives. It can be a physical pain, an emotional hurt, or a spiritual trial. No matter what kind of suffering we go through, it is never easy.
But let me be honest- I sometimes wish for a perfect utopia without suffering or sorrow. However, I acknowledge that sometimes pain and distress can bring out the best in us—they can give us strength, perspective, understanding, and courage. It’s through these moments of suffering that we are able to grow spiritually and come closer to God.
In this blog post, I will examine 31 truths about suffering from the Bible. I will also discuss why God allows suffering and how we can find comfort during difficult times.
I hope this post gives you perspective.
Ready? Let’s begin…
What is suffering?
Suffering is a hard concept to understand and accept, but it is something that the Bible speaks about often. According to the dictionary, suffering can be defined as “the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship.” In Hebrew, the root word for suffering comes from the word סֵבֶל (sevel), which means “suffering, pain or hardship.”
Suffering takes on many different shapes and forms—it’s not simply physical pain or anguish. Loss, disappointment, and hardships are all forms of suffering that we may encounter in our lives. As Christians, even martyrdom has been known to occur in some parts of the world due to religious persecution. This is the ultimate suffering when one loses their life due to their faith.
Nobody is exempt from suffering…be kind (brief story)
Over the past few years (since 2020), I can say that people have directly or indirectly witnessed suffering. Be it personal, of friends or family. Through my own personal journey, I started thinking about this topic over the past few months.
As I was getting ready to complete this post, I received heartbreaking news regarding a friend. My friend is a model with a promising career ahead of her. She was (and still is) talented, beautiful, and full of life – but all that changed when she got sick recently. She became wheelchair-bound and couldn’t speak or write anymore. After a grueling year of pain and suffering, she regained her functioning.
This story, as well as other direct or indirect stories you may be privy to, serves as a reminder of how we all should be more understanding and compassionate toward those suffering. Suffering can affect anyone. It doesn’t discriminate. This story is also a reminder to never take things for granted – because things can change instantly.
Let’s aim always to strive to show empathy and compassion for those struggling, whatever their circumstances may be. If we aren’t necessarily close to someone, we can pray for them.
It’s true that we can’t always control our circumstances in life, but it doesn’t mean we can’t be there for those who are suffering.
Why does God allow suffering?
First, let me start by stating that our loving God isn’t the author of suffering! A good God wouldn’t create us for the purpose of suffering. He created us for good works!
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Now let me circle back to the question… Why does God allow suffering?
God allows suffering because of the consequences of sin. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, it brought about physical death, as well as spiritual death (Genesis 3:16-19). This means that we are all born into a world where suffering exists, and God allows this to be so.
Some may now be asking, why is the case? Why can’t God just prevent suffering from ever happening? God is sovereign, isn’t He?
Well…the answer is that God created laws, and Adam and Eve went against them. They ate the fruit that they were instructed not to eat. God isn’t a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19), and He watches over His word to ensure it performs (Jeremiah 1:11-13). If there is one person who understands these laws is the devil. He uses the very laws God created to accuse us in the courts of heaven! (read Revelation 12:10). Through this, suffering can result. This is why we should keep this book of the law (Bible) on our lips and meditate on it day and night (Joshua 1:8). We cannot perpetually sin and expect goodness, prosperity, and success. We are governed by immutable spiritual laws. Man’s laws can change, but God’s laws are here to stay!
Here’s the unfortunate part that sometimes people disagree on but I believe in. Ready for the bombshell? Here it is- some suffering is caused by generational curses or family altars erected to serve the enemy. Read more about it here; in the following posts that I wrote- 7 Essential Steps for Breaking Generational Curses and Altars in the Bible: 10 Essential Steps to Breaking Evil Altars.
God’s plan through our suffering
God doesn’t let our suffering be in vain. In fact, he can use even the most difficult circumstances to bring us closer to him. For example, Romans 5:3-5 says, “We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience experience; and experience hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” This scripture shows us that God can use suffering to give us patience, experience, and hope—all of which bring us closer to Him.
God also uses our suffering to teach us important lessons about life and faith. 1 Peter 5:10, we read, “But may the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” Through suffering, we are taught valuable lessons about faithfulness and perseverance that will help shape us into better people and strengthen our faith.
Ultimately, God wants all his children to find comfort and strength in Him, even when we are going through difficult times. He is always there for us; his love never fails (Hebrews 13:5-6). No matter what kind of suffering we may be facing, God will never leave us or forsake us. We can trust that He has a greater plan for our lives and will use our suffering to bring about good things in the end.
As Christians, it’s important to remember that even though God allows suffering, He still loves us deeply and desires the best for us. The Bible promises us that if we put our faith in Him, He will make all things right again someday (Revelation 21:4-5). Until then, we can cling to the hope that God will use our suffering for good and bring us closer to Him in the process.
In addition to that, know that God is a covenant-keeping God, so in as much as the law has consequences for sin, it also has promises for those who love him and keep his commands. (Deuteronomy 28:1-14)
Bible stories and characters who suffered
Let’s briefly (like for real, it’s brief lol) discuss five people and their experiences with suffering.
Jesus suffered greatly for us and died on the cross for us. Through his suffering, we learn about the LOVE that God has for us.
Job is one of the characters in the Bible who experienced a great degree of suffering. In the book of Job, his faith was tested. He lost all his possessions and his children. Despite this, he remained faithful to God and praised him even in the midst of his pain. He teaches us that we can endure great suffering with faith and perseverance. Also, there is recompense available after suffering.
Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers and suffered greatly at the hands of his master, Potiphar. Despite this, he still remained faithful to God and eventually rose to become the Prime Minister of Egypt. Through his experiences with suffering, he teaches us that God has a perfect plan present even in the midst of suffering.
4. Ruth and Naomi
Ruth and Naomi were two women who suffered greatly. A famine led Naomi to leave her home with her husband and two sons. All of them died. One of her sons happened to be Ruth’s husband. So in short- both Ruth and Naomi became widows! Despite this, they received a kinsman redeemer in Boaz who is a picture of Jesus Christ our Redeemer.
Daniel was a prophet who had the spirit of excellence. He experienced a great deal of suffering and persecution for his faith in God. He teaches us to remain faithful in the midst of our trials, and that no matter what we may face, God will always be with us.
31 Biblical Truths About Suffering
I’ve done a lovely summary for this section with corresponding verses you can reflect on. Study the verses and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal more to you! If this is a topic you are interested in, ensure you are a spiritual Berean and do more research. ❤️
Here are the 31 Biblical truths that I’ve been meditating on:
1. Press on Towards The Goal
Philippians 3:12-14 encourages us to press forward despite hardships, reminding us that with dedication and perseverance comes reward. This verse serves as a reminder that our purpose in life can be attained if we keep going even when the road gets tough.
2. Endure with Patience
James 1:12 reminds us that “blessed is the one who perseveres under trial” or “blessed is the man that endureth temptation,” emphasizing that perseverance and endurance are key components in dealing with suffering. If we endure our trials, we will be rewarded with the crown of life.
3. Reject Fearfulness
1 Peter 3:14 tells us to reject fear and remain faithful to God’s word even when faced with suffering.
4. When You Walk Through the Fire, You will NOT be Burned!
Isaiah 43:2 states, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
This passage is a reminder that God will always be with us, even when we are experiencing intense suffering. He is our strength and comfort in moments of difficulty, and He will sustain us through whatever trials may come. In times of trouble, we can cling to the assurance found in Isaiah 43:2 that God is with us, no matter what.
5. Lean on God During Difficult Times
When we are facing suffering, Psalm 34:18 reminds us that “the Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.” We can rely on God for comfort and strength during difficult times.
6. Count It All Joy
James 1:2 tells us to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials” – even if it’s difficult to do so! This verse encourages us to have a positive outlook on suffering and reminds us that it can bring forth great spiritual rewards.
7. Look to Jesus in Your Suffering
Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us to strive for holiness, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” This verse encourages us to be perfect in our thoughts and actions, even in times of suffering. This can only be done by looking to Jesus Christ.
8. Give Thanks Despite Circumstances
1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in all circumstances. We are reminded that even in difficult times, we can still thank God for the good things He has done and will do.
9. God Will Comfort Us In Our Troubles/Suffering
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 tells us that God is the “Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort”. The Bible further states that He(God) comforts us in our tribulation!
This verse encourages us to turn to God for comfort!
10. The Lord will Renew Your Strength
Isaiah 40:30-31, “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.“
This verse tells us that This verse reminds us that our strength comes from God and to rely on Him during times of suffering.
11. A Definitive End to Suffering
Revelation 21:3-5 tells us that one day, all suffering will come to an end when we go to heaven and meet the Lord.
This is a comforting promise for Christians as it shows us a light at the end of the tunnel. It also reminds us that no matter how hard the situation, God will be with us and ultimately bring joy to our lives when we meet Him in Heaven.
12. Acknowledging Sins and Repentance
This is important if the suffering you are experiencing is as a result of sin.
Psalms 32:3-5 encourages us to acknowledge our sins before the Lord. It reminds us that although we are far from perfect, if we confess our sins God will forgive us accordingly. This is a reminder for us to not be ashamed or embarrassed of our mistakes and instead seek repentance and forgiveness from our Creator.
13. Good Purpose Through Suffering
Romans 8:28 speaks of how God will use suffering to bring about His good purposes. This is a reminder for us that even in our darkest moments, God is always at work and can use anything – including suffering – to turn it into something good. It also reminds us that no matter the circumstance, we should not lose our faith because God will never leave us in our time of need.
14. Closer to God Through Weakness/Suffering
2 Corinthians 12:9 reminds us that suffering can be a tool for drawing us closer to God. This verse serves as a reminder that by relying on and trusting in God during times of struggle, He will be with us through it all and help to bring us closer.
15. Perseverance Through Suffering
James 1:2-4 speaks of how suffering can produce perseverance in us.
This is a reminder for us that by continuing on despite the hardships, we are being rewarded with strength and endurance to keep going. This verse also reminds us to be patient and have faith in God, trusting that He will take care of us.
16. The Reality of Difficulties (Suffering) In Life
John 16:33 reminds us that although we should expect suffering in this life, Jesus has already overcome the world and it will give us comfort.
This verse reminds us to stay strong and take refuge in God’s promises, knowing that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
17. Jesus’ Understanding and Empathy
This is a reassuring reminder for us that no matter how hard the situation, Jesus has gone through it Himself and is always with us in our time of need.
18. We Don’t Have to Suffer Forever (Eternal Life Through Jesus)
Romans 6:23 reminds us that Jesus died so that we don’t have to suffer forever.
This verse serves as a reminder for us not to lose hope in the midst of our darkest moments, trusting that Jesus’ death has paid for all of our sins and will bring about eternal life when we accept Him into our lives.
19. Present Suffering is Superseded by Future Glory
Romans 8:18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
This is a reminder for us not to give up and that in our darkest moments, There will be glory that will be revealed in us that will supersede all that we have endured
20. Resist the Devil
1 Peter 5:8-9 encourages us to resist the devil when faced with suffering.
This is a reminder for us to not give in to temptation and instead look towards God and His word for help and strength (Psalm 25:4, Psalm 119:67). It reminds us that if we stand firm in our faith and draw closer to Him, He will protect us from the enemy’s schemes.
21. Hope Through Suffering
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 tells us that even in our darkest moments, God is with us, and He gives us purpose for our suffering.
When suffering enters our lives, it is easy to become discouraged and feel like nothing will ever get better. But this verse reminds us that our suffering will have an end, and there is hope in the future. We can cling to this promise of hope knowing that even if we don’t understand why things happen or why God allows us to suffer now, He has something bigger planned for us.
22. The Lord is Always with us!
Psalm 23:4 reminds us that no matter how dark and difficult life can be, the Lord is always beside us.
This verse serves as a reminder that we never have to face our suffering alone. God is always with us, even when we don’t understand why certain things happen or why He allows us to suffer. We can trust in His faithfulness and know that He will provide us with the comfort and strength we need to get through even the toughest of times.
23. Taking Comfort in Jesus’ Suffering
Philippians 3:10 reminds us that we have an example of someone who suffered and ultimately triumphed over it.
In this verse, Paul is emphasizing the importance of following Jesus’ example of suffering and trusting in God even when we don’t understand what is happening. We can take comfort in knowing that Jesus faced the ultimate sacrifice for us, and if He was able to do it, so can we.
24. Trusting in God’s Presence; He will never leave you!
Hebrews 13:5-6 tells us that even when we are going through tough times, the Lord will never leave us.
This verse reminds us of God’s faithfulness and assurance that no matter what happens, He will always be there for us. We can trust in His promises, knowing that He will never abandon us even when it feels like everything else is falling apart.
25. Finding Peace Amidst Suffering
Philippians 4:7 reminds us that even in our darkest moments, God can still give us peace. This isn’t the peace that the world gives but one that surpasses all understanding!
This verse serves as a reminder that no matter what we are going through, there is always hope and the promise of an inner peace. We can take comfort in knowing that even when we don’t understand why certain things happen or why God allows us to go through suffering, He can still bring peace to our hearts and help us make it through.
26. Refining Through Suffering
1 Peter 1:6-7 reminds us that our suffering can be a tool to refine us and make us more like Christ.
This verse serves as an encouragement for those going through difficult times, reminding them that these tough times are not in vain. We can take comfort in knowing that God is using these moments to shape and mold us into better people and equip us with the skills and strength needed to get through the tough times.
27. Finding Comfort in Knowing God is Working for Our Good
Romans 8:28 tells us that even though it may not seem like it, God is using our suffering for our ultimate good.
This verse can be a source of comfort and encouragement to those struggling, reminding them that God has a plan and is working everything out according to it. We can take solace in knowing that even though we may not understand why, we can trust that God’s plan is ultimately for our own good.
28. Using Suffering as Witness and Comfort for Others
2 Corinthians 1:3-4, ” Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.“
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 reminds us that our suffering can be used to serve as an example and witness to others. This verse is an important reminder that our trials and tribulations can be used to help others who may also be going through tough times. By sharing our stories, we can serve as a witness of God’s faithfulness and remind those in need that they too can make it through.
29. Being Granted Power, Love and a Sound Mind (even through suffering!)
2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us that even though we may be going through tough times, God has given us the spirit of power, love and a sound mind.
This verse serves as an encouragement for those who are struggling, reminding them that God has equipped them with the strength and resources needed to get through these times. We can take comfort in knowing that He has given us all we need to make it through.
30. Reaping the Benefits of Perseverance Through Suffering
Romans 5:3-4 reminds us that we should be thankful for our suffering, as it produces perseverance. This verse encourages those going through difficult times, reminding them that their trials and tribulations will eventually lead to great rewards if they persevere and remain faithful. We can have hope, knowing that the suffering we experience today is, in fact, producing something good for our future.
31. Character Development
The suffering we endure, as described in Romans 5:3-4, can actually be a blessing in disguise. Through our trials and tribulations, God is molding us into the best version of ourselves — refining us and drawing us closer to Him. Even though the pain may seem unbearable, it is an opportunity for us to grow in faith and patience.
As the Scripture says, “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Romans 5:3-4). Through this refining process, we can one day attain a better version of ourselves and a closer relationship with God.
God is with you in suffering
I feel led to include this spontaneous portion to encourage you…it comes from the depth of my Spirit.
From my personal experience, the deepest of suffering and the greatest of sorrows can draw us closer to God. I’ve had many occasions where I could tangibly feel the presence of God when I was at my weakest and in deep suffering.
When my father passed away, God gave me the grace to feel a heavy angelic presence around me. I believe He (God) allowed me to experience this not only to give a testimony of His love but also care. Our father loves us deeply. He loves us so much that he created a path and plan out of sin before the foundations of this earth. He loved us so much that He sent his only begotten son (John 3:16). He loved us so much that he has prepared an eternal future with Him! Do you see the pattern? – God has a plan that if we surrender to Him and His commands- IT’S FAIL PROOF!
If there is one takeaway, I want to be seared in your Spirit as you read this- GOD IS THERE, holding you steady in your suffering. He has sent life jackets or rescue boats in the form of people, miraculous events like healing, etc. He is the fourth man in the fire. He is there. Do you perceive his presence?
Don’t ever forget He is a covenant-keeping God. Command His word over your life. It shall not come back void, but it shall accomplish that which He purposes and succeed in the thing for which He sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)
TRUST him. I know at times it’s hard to do so (trust) in suffering; I know that personally…but trust Him. Surrender to Him and ask him to help your unbelief (Mark 9:24). Be receptive to hearing from Him. And when it’s all too much, go to His feet and CRY. I remember once I fell prostrate and asked God for strength as I wept.
God knows our troubles, and there is greater spiritual access you get in suffering that nobody has. Lean into that and spend time with ABBA father. Soon after, you shall see the goodness of God. You will see Him come rushing in. The enemy thought he came in like a flood to destroy you in suffering, but God raised a standard (Isaiah 59:19).
Glory be to God, our deliverer.
And that’s it, folks, the answer to why God allows suffering
No matter what kind of suffering you may be going through, it’s important to remember that God is with you every step of the way—He knows our struggles, and He will help us get through them. Take comfort in knowing that God is with you. He will never leave your side.
P.S. If you are experiencing loss of any kind, please read the following blog post I wrote titled “Biblical Tips for Dealing with Grief: How a Christian Can Deal with Grief and Loss.”
Let us prophetically declare the goodness of God in this season!