Suffering is pervasive. As history progresses, we experience different forms of suffering. For example, in Medieval days, half of all children died before age 10. Now, with advances in technology, education, and lifestyle, our suffering is more often mental rather than physical. To illustrate, our anxiety towards suffering may have intensified.
Sometimes, we bring suffering onto ourselves with careless decision-making, but often our suffering can seem senseless—the loss of a loved one, natural disasters. The 2004 tsunami, comparable to the power of 550M Hiroshima atomic bomb, killed nearly 250,000 people. Why do these things happen? If God is good and all-powerful, why doesn’t He prevent them?
The Bible is filled with writers protesting to God on sufferings, particularly what they considered the sufferings unjustified. Yet the Bible doesn’t explain why there is suffering, other than the world is broken and cursed. How do we cope with it?
First, know that our God understands suffering due to His personal experience. Christ went through the ultimate unjustified suffering: tortured, nailed on the cross, left totally alone, and even forsaken by His Father. The resurrected body still carried the scars of the nails, revealing a wounded God.
Second, know that God suffers with us. Christ wept when His friends suffered (John 11:33-35). His love is always with us. Christians never suffer alone and are encouraged to seek comfort in friendship with one another.
Third, know that there is hope. Christ shows the ultimate hope at His resurrection. One day, He will wipe all tears. Paul described his suffering on earth as light and momentary because eternal glory far outweighed his temporary pain (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).
Finally, think beyond yourself. Help the least (Matthew 25:40-46) and suffer with those who suffer. Then we share Christ’s suffering and will share His glory (Romans 8:16-17).
Though the Bible does not explain why there is suffering, we know our God understands suffering, and He suffers with us. One day, Christ will heal all wounds. We must learn to help others even in the midst of our own suffering.
Summarized from a John Ortberg sermon:
第三，要知道有盼望。基督的复活显示出最终的盼望。有一天祂会擦干所有的眼泪。保罗将自己在世上的痛苦描述为至暂至轻，因为永恒的荣耀远远超过了他短暂的苦楚 （哥林多后书 4：16-17）。