Sunday, November 12, 2023

Why Does God Allow Suffering - Part 2


If God is good why is there so much suffering in the world?

~~ Watch the Video ~~

Worship: With Me All Along by Guvna B


  • Introduction
  • Traits of Wholeness
  • Theologies/Philosophies On Suffering and Evil (Review)
  • Relational Impact of Suffering
  • Can God be Good, Powerful, and Loving
  • Suffering
  • Types of Evil
  • Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
  • Reasons Why We Suffer
  • God’s Plan
  • Leave With Hope


  • Habakkuk 1:2-3
  • Romans 5:12
  • Romans 8:28
  • Romans 5:8
  • Amos 3:6
  • Psalms 73:1-5
  • 1 Peter 5:8-9
  • Deuteronomy 30:19
  • 1 John 1:10
  • James 1:2-3
  • Hebrews 12:9-11
  • Job 16:1-2


Habakkuk 1:2-3

2 How long, LORD, have I called for help, And You do not hear? I cry out to You, “Violence!” Yet You do not save. 3 Why do You make me see disaster, And make me look at destitution? Yes, devastation and violence are before me; Strife exists and contention arises.

Violence, disaster, suffering

We look around the world we see

  • War in
    • Israel / Palestine
    • Ukraine
  • Disease
  • Poverty
  • Disasters
  • Sickness
  • Innocent children die
  • Evil

I want to start off by acknowledging the reality of your suffering and no theological explanation is going to take away the pain that you suffer.

I don’t want to deny the depth of your suffering or minimize what you have or what you are currently going through.

“Where is God?“

  • How could you let this happen?

Why doesn’t god intervene?

Or is he too weak?

Many people who debate the existence of God… are actually angry at God

Psalms 22:1 “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”

Why does God allow suffering?

Traits of Wholeness

We are in our series called Seeking Wholeness

How can we be:

  • Spiritually healthy
  • Emotionally healthy
  • Mentally healthy

Free from oppression of

  • Our past
  • Ourself
  • Bad thinking
  • Strongholds
  • The enemy

We’re talking about

  • dealing with life’s current stresses
  • being healed from experiences/wounds of the past

We’re not just promised eternal life

  • We’re supposed to have: joy, peace, patience, and self control here on earth

Traits of Wholeness

  • Authenticity
  • Honesty
  • Kindness
  • Not seeking external approval / validation
  • Living by values and principles
  • Setting Boundaries
  • Taking ownership of your responsibilities
  • Living with purpose and passion
  • Optimism
  • Confidence
  • Healthy relationships with others
  • Not losing control of your emotions
  • Free from addictions
  • Addressing Conflict with truth and love
  • Vulnerability
  • Not critical or Judgemental
  • Not jealous of others
  • Forgive those who have wronged you in the past
  • Know that you’re worthy of receiving love
  • Not afraid to fail
  • Able to manage irrational fear, worry, and anxiety
  • Selfless encounters with others
  • Not manipulating others trying to control their actions/reactions
  • You care about how others feel
  • Patient
  • Don’t give into peer/social pressure
  • Can communicate directly
  • Don’t take responsibility for other people's emotions
  • Take responsibility for your own emotions
  • Slow to anger
  • Ability to maturely express your wants, needs and desires
  • Being led by the Spirit

Theologies/Philosophies On Suffering and Evil (Review)

“Where the Bible leaves a question make, we can’t put a period”

Why do we have?

  • Suffering
  • Sin
  • Evil

You probably believe one or more of these

Fallen World

Suffering and Evil

Romans 5:12

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all mankind, because all sinned–

Adam and Eve‘s original sin

  • Suffering
  • Evil
  • Sin
  • Death

it is God‘s will that all humans die

God vs Satan

Suffering and Evil

The universe as a cosmic battle between God and Satan

  • Everything good comes from God
  • Everything evil comes from Satan

Faith / Or lack of


If you have enough faith… God will answer any prayer.

With faith you can

  • Heal any disease
  • Get material wealth
  • Bind Satan
  • End any Suffering.
  • raise the dead

POV: Prophetic movement, Prosperity doctrine, Word of Faith

Punishment from God


God is punishing you for your sins

“You get what you deserve“


POV: Works Doctrine, many major religions

Free Will

Suffering and Evil

God allows us to make choices

We suffer as a result of our own bad choices

Natural Consequences of Our Actions


The natural consequence of some action we commit

  • There was no divine intervention

Your actions can result in natural consequences

  • You brought it on yourself
  • There was no divine intervention

  • Throw rocks in the air
  • You punch someone and they beat you up

Time and Chance


Stuff just happens

Time and chance happen to a us all

Sovereignty of God

Suffering and Evil

Isaiah 45:6-7

6 So that people may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no one else, 7 The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating disaster; I am the LORD who does all these things.

Everything is predetermined…by God

  • And therefore He caused evil

God ordained evil for His own glory

  • But…God is not the author or approver of sin

We wouldn’t know God‘s wrath or his mercy without sin^

POV: Reformed, Calvinist, Lutheran

Order and Chaos

Suffering and Evil

Both evil and good are necessary

Yin Yang

Pain is a part of life

POV: Kabbalah, the occult

Four Noble Truths of Buddhism


  • There is suffering in life
  • The cause of suffering is desire
  • Ending desire means ending suffering
  • Following a controlled and moderate lifestyle will end desire, and therefore end suffering

Buddhism is focused on a pursuit to end suffering

God Initiates Some of Our Suffering

God disciplines us:

  • For our good
  • To make us holy
  • To get us to our destiny
  • Change your character
  • Showing you who you are
  • To strengthen our faith
  • To get our attention

They Aren’t Mutually Exclusive

Fallen World can be seen as intersecting with:

  • God vs Satan
  • Punishment of God
  • Free will
  • Natural consequences

Relational Impact of Suffering

How does one human impact the suffering of another human?

Level of impact of suffering

  • Individual
  • Family
  • National
  • Global / Human race
  • Universe

Example: wasp stings

  • Wasp nest gets destroyed
  • Even though only one did the stinging

What level are each of these?

  • Fallen world
  • God vs Satan
  • Faith
  • Punishment from God
  • Free will
  • Natural consequence of our actions
  • Time and chance
  • Sovereignty of God
  • Order and Chaos

Can God be Good, Powerful, and Loving


“God is great, God is good let us thank you for this food”

The philosophical debates on suffering and evil center around God’s

  1. Knowledge
  2. Power to prevent/stop
  3. Love

But theological  also

  1. Will
  2. Cause

Arguments Against The Existence of God

All Knowing, All Powerful

If God is not able to prevent evil, then he is not all powerful

if God is not willing to prevent evil, then he is not all good

If God is both willing and able to prevent evil, then why does evil exist?

God can’t be both

  • Omnipotent
  • Benevolent

Why would he allow

  • Grief
  • Pain
  • Evil

The Trilemma

The trilemma

  1. All powerful god
  2. All loving God
  3. The reality of evil

“It is not science to lead me to doubt God… It is the state of this world“

Other Complexities

Example: child wants to eat cake for breakfast

  • Health
  • Siblings didn’t eat
  • The cake is old

To say it is a trilemma is trivializing the problem

  • It is much more complex

What about

  • God’s wisdom
  • Time – God lives in eternity

The Presence of Pain Does Not Imply the Absence of Love

The presence of pain isn’t the lack of love*

  • Sometimes the presence of pain… Is the evidence of love

People that cause suffering to give you something better

  • Surgeon
  • Therapist
  • Personal trainer
  • Parents Who discipline their children

Example:  Taking a one year old baby to the hospital to get a shot


The atheist forget the concept of “judgment“

Justice Requires God to Cause Suffering

If man is evil and God doesn’t punish him… Then God is not good

Example: judge

Our loving God is all powerful, but not all controlling

God is not a puppeteer controlling every detail of life

God is doing something

The theory of evolution says that the strong will survive. The fact that people are trying to make the world better is proof that the love of God is in action.

Example: everyone now

  • Cause
  • Environment
  • Save the planet
  • Injustice

Romans 8:28

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

N.T. Wright

“God works all things together for good with those who are called according to His purpose.“

God is inviting His people to share with Him in the work that He is doing in the world

  • People who are Christians

The purpose is that “I’ve been called to be part of God’s work in the world”

God has intervened

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God sent Jesus to die for us

If there is no God, who decides good/evil?

If there is no god then there is no moral standard

The fact that we believe that there is evil and suffering is proof that God exists

What is the Alternative?

When belief in God becomes difficult… The tendency is to turn away from Him.… To what?

Do you have a worldview that gives you an answer?

As a naturalist… Not only do you not have an answer… But you can’t even justify the question

If suffering is evil… Then you must assume good

The question assumes that people have intrinsic worth.

  • You can’t make that assumption in a naturalistic view

Example: bear eating a fish

  • No one asked why God allows the fish to suffer

We are the random product of time plus matter plus a chance


“Suffering” is Subjective

Coworker Example

Two people at the same job

  • One is whistling and happy the other was complaining all day
  • Why does God allow the complaining person to suffer?

The Benefits of Suffering

Pain can be a blessing and an indicator

Story of the girl born with the rare disease where she can’t feel pain

  • She can step on a nail and not know it
  • Her mother prays every night that she will experience pain

Pain is an indicator to us that something is wrong

Is it impossible to guide design pain for us to turn to him

Types of Evil

Natural evil, calamity

Amos 3:6

If a trumpet is blown in a city, will the people not tremble? If a disaster occurs in a city, has the LORD not brought it about?

This is not a personal issue

This is part of the world in its fallen condition

Tidal waves, viruses and bacteria, earthquakes and volcanoes,

Moral evil

The world is inhabited by people who are immoral to the core

Calamity versus atrocity

  • Atrocity as a result of a conscious choice

The sovereignty of God answer works fine when you’re talking about things that happened to you. But it sort of falls apart when you view the sins you commit yourself. It goes against everything else we see in the Bible.

“ Do you think that the biggest sin you’ve ever committed in your life was preordained by God?“


Supernatural evil

  • Satan
  • demons
  • Fallen angels

The evil of hell

Evil forever

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

Psalms 73:1-5

1 A Psalm of Asaph.

God certainly is good to Israel, To those who are pure in heart! 2 But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling, My steps had almost slipped. 3 For I was envious of the arrogant As I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 For there are no pains in their death, And their belly is fat. 5 They are not in trouble like other people, Nor are they tormented together with the rest of mankind.

  • Prosperity of the wicked

Why do bad things happen to good people?

… They don’t

There is none righteous… No not one

The question being addressed is why do those who are relatively more moral than others have bad things happen to them

We get depressed when we assume that godly living will give us worldly success

Something bad only happened to someone good… One time… And that was Jesus

God Didn’t Promise You Wouldn’t Suffer

Breakthrough is on the way

Reasons Why We Suffer

And How Can we prevent it

Evil is not a question to be answered or problem to be solved

  • It is something to be overcome

We Suffer Because of Satan

1 Peter 5:8-9

 8Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 So resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brothers and sisters who are in the world.

A roaring Lion is trying to get into your house

  • Fallen world
  • You sinned and gave him access/permission
  • Bad luck
  • God ordained him to be there

What Do We Do About It?

We have specific instructions on how to prevent suffering caused by Satan

I don’t want to know … how/why the lion got to my door

I want to know

  • What do I do now?
  • How do I keep him from coming back?

There are also verses telling us to

  • Resist the devil 1 Peter 5:8-9
  • Put on the full armor Eph 6:10-18

I can prevent my suffering by

  • Resisting the devil
  • Putting on the full armor of God

Armor of God

  • Truthfulness
  • Righteousness
  • The Gospel
  • Faith
  • The Hope of Salvation
  • The Bible
  • Following the Leading of the Holy Spirit

We Suffer Because of Our Choices

If we’re honest, we know that…

Our decisions have caused us to suffer

Deuteronomy 30:19

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have placed before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants,

  • Life vs death
  • Blessing vs curse

The quality of my life is determined by the decisions that I make

Trials and suffering are part of true growth

Removing accountability

We don’t want a theology that takes all of the responsibility away

Otherwise I can

  • sin all I want
  • Spend all I want
  • Eat whatever I want
  • Have sex with whoever I want whenever I want

The manner in which you choose to live your life can influence your suffering

You can bring it on yourself

I can prevent suffering by:

  • Live in obedience
  • Studying the book of Proverbs
  • Praying for wisdom


People Are Evil

1 John 1:10

If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

Some of you are suffering because of

  • Parent
  • Relative
  • Neighbor
  • Boss
  • Coworker
  • Enemy

Why doesn’t God get rid of all the wicked people?

  • If he did… You wouldn’t be here to see it

We are all wicked compared to God

We are all evil in the eyes of law

The only reason we are considered righteous is through the blood of Christ

  • God will eventually eliminate all who have not accepted Christ

God's Gives Us the Freedom to be Evil - Priest

We Suffer Because of Our Perception/Mindset

James 1:2-3

2 Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

  • We are commanded to consider it joy
  • Ability

Your Mindset

Example: Spoiled Child

  • Has to go to sleep when doing good on video game
  • Can’t eat cake for breakfast

The presence of suffering  is not proof of a lack of love

We need to consider

  • God’s wisdom/knowledge
  • Time – God lives in eternity

The scar experiment

Prevent suffering by:

  • Renewing my mind

God Initiates Some of Our Suffering

Hebrews 12:9-11

 9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 For the moment, all discipline seems not to be pleasant, but painful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

God disciplines us:

  • For our good
  • To make us holy
  • To get us to our destiny
  • Change your character
  • Showing you who you are
  • To make you into who you need to be
  • To strengthen your faith
  • To Get Your Attention


  • The blessing you want would take you further from God
  • You only turn to God in the bad times

To Draw You Closer to God

Christianity teaches that, contra fatalism, suffering is overwhelming; contra Buddhism, suffering is real; contra karma, suffering is often unfair; but contra secularism, suffering is meaningful. There is a purpose to it and if faced rightly, it can drive us like a nail deep into the love of God and it to more stability and spiritual power than you can imagine

– – Tim Keller

If we were perfectly content… How would we know our need for God

We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. 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.

– – CS Lewis Lewis

God’s Plan

As a Christian, we can trust God’s plan for our lives

? The pressure that you feel is required for the growth that you need. - Faith

Learn to accept things you can’t understand.

My Suffering Is Not By Chance - RC Sproul

Example: friend singing at NFL football games?

  • Because she’s a breast cancer survivor

God Gave us Insurance

It is unwise to drive a beautiful car on the unpredictable streets without insurance

Therefore it is unwise to live your beautiful life in an unpredictable world without insurance/assurance

Don’t Drive Life Without Insurance

One day you will suffer no more

God gave us a path to avoid suffering


Life with God is not immunity from difficulties

But peace within difficulties

– – CS Lewis

Leave With Hope

Miserable Comforters

Job 16:1-2

1 Then Job responded,

2“I have heard many things like these;

   Miserable comforters are you all!

I don’t want to be a miserable comforter… so i’ll leave you with Hope

You’re Going Through the Valley

Good news and bad news about going through the valley.

  • Bishop Ulmer
  • Conclusion


I’m coming out of it – motivation.

Instructor: Michael Leadon


Why does god allow so much suffering and evil

John MacArthur

Is God good, why do I suffer?: RC Sproul

Legionnaire ministries

Why does god allow pain and suffering

NBCC | Pastor Herman

Why does god allow so much suffering and evil - Ravi Zacharias

Great sermons

Why did God let it happen?

Life church

Does God Work For Us or With Us? | Romans 8:28 | N.T. Wright Online

N.T. Wright Online

Jim Applegate | why don’t does god allow pain and suffering

Resonate movement

Why does god let bad things happen (the problem of evil)

IM beggar


Psalms 73

Who wrote the book of Psalms?

  • Although scholars debated, Psalms 73 was likely written by Asaph

2 Chronicles 29:30

Moreover, King Hezekiah and the officials ordered the Levites to sing praises to the LORD with the words of David and Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with joy, and bowed down and worshiped.

This psalm is roughly acrostic in arrangement, with the lines arranged with Hebrew sentences that begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In style this is a wisdom psalm, directed not to God but to man, teaching after the manner of the Book of Proverbs.

Habakkuk 1:2-3 (NASB20) 2 How long, LORD, have I called for help, And You do not hear? I cry out to You, “Violence!” Yet You do not save. 3 Why do You make me see disaster, And make me look at destitution? Yes, devastation and violence are before me; Strife exists and contention arises.

God is sovereign

He is governing every detail of the universe

Everything is aligned with his purposes

Psalms 115:3

But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.

Daniel 4:35

“All the inhabitants of the earth are of no account, But He does according to His will among the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can fend off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’

Lamentations 3:37-38

37 Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, Unless the Lord has commanded it? 38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That both adversity and good proceed?

Isaiah 45:9-11 (NASB20) 9 “Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker-- A piece of pottery among the other earthenware pottery pieces! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’? 10 “Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you fathering?’ Or to a woman, ‘To what are you giving birth?’” 11 This is what the LORD says, the Holy One of Israel and his Maker: “Ask Me about the things to come concerning My sons, And you shall commit to Me the work of My hands.

God allows evil

God is not asking to be rescued from the blame for all the bad things in the world

God could’ve named the animals

  • He chose to let Adam do it
  • It is God’s will to give other creatures agency
  • It’s not that He can’t…but it’s His will to let others

Life Quotes

Who Determines What is Good?

We Want to View God through the lens of ourselves

  • God is good all the time

Who determines if your suffering is justifiable?

  • The wiser one
  • The one that has the most information/knowledge
  • The one who has the other’s best interest at heart

Questions and answers - Ravi Zacharias

If loving God does exist, why doesn’t he intervene to prevent the thousands of deaths caused by natural disasters?

In this world where we have violated God's law we have realities of

  • Death
  • Suffering

The Christian worldview gives the use of reality of a fallen creation.  To ask God to stop every bad thing in my life is to ask me to be something other than human.  I am a dependent being. At some point suffering and death will come.

We have to learn to trust God and that we are in his hands.

I can’t trust the guy who says he is sovereign, but then allows atrocities like child prostitution or child rate to occur. If God is sovereign and can stop it, why does he choose not to protect his children?

Atrocities are a choice that someone made

At the end of your life you’ll end up with a

  • Hard heart
  • Tender heart
  • Broken heart

It is suffering in pain, and the church needs to come to the rescue.  

If Jesus' death and resurrection gives us so much hope for the future, why did God leave us so little hope for what is going on in the present?

It is only when you are living devoid of faith that you don’t have hope.  

“I have come that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly“

Christ was talking about now… Not in heaven

The hope is not just for the future… I hope it’s also for right now

How do you reconcile the kind God in the New Testament versus the god of the old testament?

God’s love is displayed in the old testament

  • The covenants made to Abraham and others we’re done when they were sleep
  • The story of Hosea buying his wife back from the brothel is the story of God taken his people back

God judges in proportion to the revelation that was given.  there was an abundance of miracles given to the people… That they ignored. So their judgment was severe.  

There are so many people that are saying they’re saved… Why aren’t we seeing a change in the world? Is it a lack of true belief?

If this is a supernatural activity… I should be able to see more change

We live in a generation that lives with their eyes and thinks with their feelings

Because of Christians we have many

  • Universities
  • Hospitals
  • Shelters
  • Food to the hungry
  • Clothing the naked

The Proximate vs The Ultimate

Proximate is the earthly plane of human existence

Romans 8:28 (NASB20) And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

We interpret this as saying:  there are bad things happening to us in the proximate realm. God is standing above the realm and has the power to make all of those things happen for your good.  God will not allow anything to happen to you that is not for your ultimate good.

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