How Can A Loving God Allow Suffering

 Do you ever feel like God should be fired for mismanaging your life? When we witness personal suffering or societal evil, our question is ‘where is God in all this?’

Read Hebrews 4:14 – 16

What if one of us was God? We would probably…

  1. Remove the ability of people to do evil – It would mean that humans have no free will! Result: there would be no meaningful relationships anymore between God and humans.
  2. Protect the ‘innocent’ from those who chose to do evil – Covering up for wayward behavior is co-dependence, and actually ends up enabling the other person to continue on in their negative behavior. In a world with no consequences, evil would actually increase!
  3. Judge and remove those who continue to commit evil acts – But then where would you draw the line? Soon there would be no one left as we all sin and commit evil acts that are harmful to others (Romans 3:23).

Suffering happens because of humanity’s freely chosen independence from God, who is the Source of life. So where is the hope?

God sees, we win and I matter.


  1. God sees – God is not harsh, unmoved Deity watching from a distance, but that He feels with us when we suffer.
  2. We win – God has not abandoned the world to evil and injustice. He is actively working to restore the world to its original state.  And He will have a last word on evil.
  3. I matter – In the meantime, God invites us to become agents of change, who with His help will restore all creation back to the peace and order it was created for. And in the precess we stop being victims of our circumstances and we begin to play a significant role in pushing back the darkness – helping bring out justice, fairness, goodness, and all those other qualities that make this world a better place (John 20:21)

God does not cause evil. But He is able, when I turn to Him to turn around even the worst situation caused by misused human freedom so that it works for my good and the good of others (Romans 8:28)

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25 Responses to “How Can A Loving God Allow Suffering”

  1. I come from the school of thought that is very wary of questioning God, but this series has made me acknowledge that there is a need to ask the hard questions so that you can get the real answers.When God says come let us reason together, He actually needs you to come with your reasons, bring them to the table and have Him bring His reasoning to the table too, then you can both leave the table with an amicable solution, that satisfies both you and Him. I think this has been lost sometimes in our rush to ‘change the world, and live for God’, sometimes we forget that God wants us with all our capacities, our realness, our issues, and He wants to deal with them in us, so that we can help others deal with theirs too, thru Him.

    I am challenged and energized, to look at lifes difficulties as an opportunity , for God to meet me , answer my questions, and equip me to be a better vessel for Him.God bless you Pst M., for literally opening this can of worms, I can’t wait to learn more.

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  2. Hi Let me call myself Pain. I identify with the man who gave his testimony this past sunday, It was like he was narrating the story of my life. I have experienced so much rejection in my life, I have struggled with self esteem issues all my life. In it all I have learned to be closer to God, to pray continuosly. I know that God loves me unconditionally, I know he holds me in high esteem, I know that I am in this world for a reason. I put all my trust in God. Today I can walk with my head held up high.

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  3. Before the sermon it was hard for me to understand why God allows us to go through certain things,but now i am more enlightened…I suffered the pain of losing my job,was in a bad relationship which ended up leaving me with wounds that lead to depression and low self esteem.My relationship with my mother at the time was in a mess….Immediately after i lost my dad to sickness!

    The question in my head all this time was how can a loving God allow all these to happen??? I didnt care anymore i sort satisfaction from friends,men…. only to reallize that it was all in vain…..

    I did Mizizi Season Three in 2009 and my life has never been the same again.God has given me back my family,my self esteem and he has assured me that no weapon formed against me shall prosper and am gonna make it!!!

    Am now brighter and more informed…..Thank you pastor M for the Sermon! NO DOUBT NO LEARNING..

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  4. am in that stage right now where am asking how God can allow suffering. Things are really tough and am debts up to my neck. i borrowed heavily to invest in my business and every morning if we start with 10,000 we end up in the evening with 7,000 the next day its 5000 and before we know it we are borrowing again. Together with my wife we’ve so much into debts that any time from now we can be auctioned. the worst part is that we love God and its not that we are extravagant in our spending but right now money just slips through our hands and all am asking is for people to pray for us that not only will we be able to pay our debts but also that our creditors businesses will do so well that they will not harrass us to pay them immediately. i was in the church when pastor M preached this message and am among those who stood to be prayed for and am hopeful that the good Lord wouldnt give up on me.

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    • Alphonce, I feel the need to encourage you. I too was in MASSIVE debt about a year ago. To say that I was living from hand to mouth would be an understatement. I was living from hand to debt repayment to next lender to debt. I was a single mom and my child didn’t even have food to eat. I even borrowed money from my house help. I couldn’t keep money. I was down. Count to a little over a year now, I can boldly say I am debt free but it was a PAINFUL process. Prayer, admitting I had a problem, living beneath my means, learning to stick to a budget regardless… but I am so free knowing that no one will come and take the chair that I’m sitting on because I owe them money. It may seem like its the end, but it’s not. You will one day testify of how far you’ve come, but make the decision now to work with God on this. Will say a prayer for you.

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  5. Hi, this month’s message just reminds me what pulled me to attend Mavuno in the first place. There is a point where I have been asking myself many questions, many hopes not comming to fruition and I have to remember that all things work together for the god of those who love him. Another way I have kept encouraging myself was by looking back over the years where God came through just when I was so desparate, even when I had not been faithful. Yes, we win in the end and that is all that matters, after all this life is temporary.

    James and the lady’s stories jus brought tear to my eyes…..and so true that God sees, and is crying with us. Be blessed.

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  6. Eh, just like u PST. M to hit the nail straight on the head. Yes indeed God always wants us to ask the hard questions which we do in our heads but the devil somehow makes us feel like we are sinning. Thank u for allowing us to know that it is ok to reason with God. U jst confirmed my conversations with God. GOD SEES, WE WIN, I MATTER. God bless u!

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  7. Pastor M, i knew that you were upto something, yes and on sunday i was not in church because i could smell the sermon why why will a loving God leave his children to suffer? why will He send christ to die for us in the cross we get saved and then later he allow the so called loved child to be gang raped where is love there. I am so mad at God that if he was to amke himself human for an hour i will beat him to death anyway he will resurect.

    I am mad at God and at the moment that is the battle we are having why allow your children to suffer especially where one is innocently going home get accosted molested and raped where was God? isnt he everywhere at the same time, doesnt He says he knew before we were formed in our mothers womb so He knows when eveil is about to happen and just looks.

    Why I am so mad is because God is God even when we suffer He remaind God, am Mad because there is no alternative i cant dump Him for another god He happens to be the only true God am mad because am stuck with Him i still believe in Him and if choose to worhip Him or not He remains God. So pastor M how do i deal with this God, yes i will pray for protection and have faith but he can choose to protect me or ignore He has no obligation to act He even threatens to make stones worship Him if i rebel hopefully this will be answered before end of October!

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    • Consider this as an encouragement:-

      How do you pray in the midst of bad times? How do you approach God when everything seems to you to be going from bad to worse? What is your attitude when God answers, but not in the manner in which you asked? What is your response when to your perspective God contradicts His own righteousness?

      Welcome to Habakkuk, the Hebrew prophet in the seventh century B.C. God taught him how to trust Him when everything is filled with confusion and perplexities. Where is God? What is He doing? Why doesn’t He do something now? Habakkuk sounds like us when life begins to unravel and fall apart.

      Habakkuk teaches us how to pray and trust the LORD God when we don’t have the answers. Let’s center our thoughts around an acrostic P R A Y E R.

      P – pursue God. That is what prayer is all about. Habakkuk asked, “How long, O LORD, will I call for help, and You will not answer?” (1:1).

      Yes, it is a complaint. His heart is full of anguish. But He is pursuing God. He knows that He has the freedom to go into the presence of the LORD God and open his heart to Him. That is when God invites us to come into His holy presence. That is when we realize that we need Him. Those are also the times when He comes in His mighty power to help us. “I will stand on my guard post And station myself on the rampart; And I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me, And how I may reply when I am reproved” (Habakkuk 2:1, NASB 1995). The LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him” (v.20).

      R – examine self and confess sin. “LORD, I have heard the report about Thee and I fear. O LORD, revive Thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy” (3:1). The prophet confessed his fears and asked God to revive His work. He prays that God’s work, not his own plans, will be renewed. “Renew your deeds; receive your work,” is the prophet’s confession. He was praying for revival.

      The only way we dare approach God is in humility and a plea that He be merciful to us. We need to ask God to do a new work in us. In Your wrath please remember us with mercy.

      A – ffirmation of what God is doing. The prophet asked God why He wasn’t doing something about the iniquity, wickedness, destruction, and violence in the land. The LORD told Habakkuk that He was busy doing something. “I am doing something in your days – You would not believe if you were told” (1:5).

      The God of history was busy at work. “For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans” (v. 6). Babylonians! Yes. Things are not always as they appear to us. There is no power in the world that is not ultimately controlled by Him. Every nation of the earth is under the hand of a sovereign God. God is over all – even the evil Babylonians! The events of history are not random accidents; they follow God’s eternal plan (cf. 3:3-15). The LORD God is the Lord of history. He is in control of history, and He will continue to accomplish His eternal purpose of redemption for His people.

      Y – ield yourself to the LORD God. Habakkuk did not like what he heard God reveal. “Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor. Why do You look with favor On those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up those more righteous than they?” (Habakkuk 1:13, NASB 1995).

      This is where the prophet grew in His knowledge of God and understanding of His ways with men. What is God teaching me that needs to be corrected? Let us learn to judge everything in the light of His eternal purpose. “The righteous will live by his faith” (2:4). God is still the eternal God, and nothing catches Him by surprise. Nothing can separate us from His love. It is in those moments we must reaffirm that conviction and yield to His sovereignty.

      E – xpect God to answer according to His will. “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14, NASB 1995).

      In time God will answer according to His eternal purposes. God controls history. The Babylonians did not rise up on their own. God raised them up to accomplish His purposes in the history of Israel. They were the tool in God’s hand for correction and purification of His people. Look for God’s answer in His Word. God will answer your prayers, and you will be able to stand back in awe and say, “I saw God do it.”

      R – ejoice and give thanks to God. Habakkuk closes with a doxology. “Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places. For the choir director, on my stringed instruments” (Habakkuk 3:18-19, NASB

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    • what I like most about your post is the realness involved in speaking this out.I will not promise you an answer by the end of October, but I am confident that God totally feels u, and He will come thru, and whats more, someday, you will look back on this season and yes…….. laugh.This I say with utmost confidence, because I have been there, and God ……… even when I was totally livid, He came thru….. in His time, and though I am not totally out of the woods yet, I am assured that this season will end, and it is the same for you, of this I am sure.

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  8. Pastor M, thank you so much for allowing yourself to be used by God to rely this message esp on sunday 12th. Like eagles do sometimes, i’ve crashed and this message was God’s reassurance to me. Only my heart knows, like a drop of water to a man in a furnace…

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  9. This month’s lesson is pertinent.

    The questions abound. No answers forthcoming. I chose to walk into town after the 2nd service in order to think. Where there were no pedestrians, I screamed Jim Carrey style at God. At that point I made the decision to take a break from my LG and from Mavuno come the end of this month’s series.

    Yet I know the answers were not meant to come form either the LG or Mavuno. I am just extremely tired of asking, seeking and knocking. Iam all prayed out.

    I identified with James’ share because that is my story. If I didn’t know any better I am going through a dark cloud at the moment and Hating on God and myself. Yesterday, i didn’t go to work and I didn’t feel like doing anything except watch telly the whole day. No shower. No eating and it wasn’t a fast.

    If this is God’s way of saying He wants His way. He can have it. I don’t care anymore. I am angry.

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    • Its been ages since I came to church. I think the last time I attended service was in March? But someone asked me to check out the blog for this month.

      This really strikes a code with me, where is God when it hurts?

      I have been in this place one too many times, you know the whole anger at God, bargaining with God, then acceptance of who God is. Yes this has been a cycle that I have now come to accept as part of my life.

      Saying “there is a reason for everything” may be true, but that is a cruel and heartless response at the point of great suffering.
      The matter of what not to say in the midst of another’s suffering is illustrated in an incident I heard about recently.

      The mother of a 9-year-old girl was killed in an automobile accident. Well-meaning friends and relatives tried to comfort the child with comments like, “Your mother was such a wonderful person, God wanted her with him in heaven” or “God needed another angel with him in heaven.”

      Days later, instead of showing signs of recovering from the shock, the child seemed even more distraught. When asked what was making her so sad, she replied, “My daddy is a wonderful person just like my mama. I’m scared God is going to make him go to heaven too.”

      Our finite minds can’t understand why unspeakably awful things happen to innocent people. Better to admit that we don’t know but make ourselves available to “live in the contradiction” with the suffering person in whatever way seems best. Offering up platitudes can actually be more harmful than helpful, as the example above illustrates.

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    • I listened to James too and the story of his life.

      What he said that was significant to me was…after he had struggled so much to go through the day and came home in the evening, he realised had it been by his own strength he could not have woken up, he wouldnt have gone to work, he wouldnt have lasted the whole day. He realised God was at work through out.

      Pastor Linda also shared something in this line before..even when you cant feel God, you cant hear Him, you cant see what he’s upto, you feel empty…God is still there.

      You cant and shouldnt quit on God (He doesnt play fair- sawa tuishe friends), whether you care about Him or not, He still cares about you. (ever tried to chase a dog that really wont go away..)

      Dont feed your problems…lest they grow fat. Dont stay at home again and/or do something that doesn’t build you…lest it becomes a habit and soon a routine.

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  10. I totally relate to Sita’s testimony on Sunday, how come God can let something so bad happen to an innocent soul, having been molested at 3years old by a relative, the memories still haunt me till today. I used to think that sex was ok, accepted, till when I received a thorough beating from my mum for trying it on a small kid at kindergarten. I was condemned as a bad mannered child and it sent me to a cocoon all of primary school life. Low self esteem was a vocabulary that lived in me and some of my siblings for so long though not to the point of depression.

    If you are a parent talk to your child, you never know what they are going through. Talk to them and advice them through all the transitions of life. After they start of life you will have done your part.

    My encouragement to all of you it that Jesus is real, he comforts, He gives us grace, peace, LOVE…LOVEEEE…Yaani a LOVE I have never felt before. God really fixed the wounds in me. I learnt to forgive the person who did this to me, which was the beginning of my healing. I give thanks to God coz even though I couldn’t see his hand I could trust his heart.

    God truly sees, We win and I matter.

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  11. To encourage us all:
    MAJOR PRAYERS FROM A MINOR PROPHET – Habakkuk 1:2; 3:17-19
    While the details of our days are different, all who’ve approached God in prayer relate to Habakkuk’s feeling that God’s ears are deaf.
    Like us, Habakkuk wrestled with God in prayer. He questioned God’s silence and doubted God’s wisdom. When God withheld what Habakkuk wanted, he negotiated for a partial settlement. When God said no, Habakkuk satisfied himself with what God wanted to give – himself.
    We only have three short chapters of Habakkuk’s conversations with God, but they contain major principles of prayer.
    – Pray with a willingness to wait; waiting and praying go together
    -Pray with perseverance;as we bring our requests to God repetitiously, we partake of his presence repetitiously and our hearts are changed
    -Pray with readiness; ready to receive Gods promised best
    -pray with confidence; faith believes Gods at work even when we cant see what God’s doing
    The last of Habakkuks three chapters sings of confidence in God. First, he exalts Gods faithful actions. Habakkuk looks back, in 3:1-15, tracing Gods protection of his people from egypt to canan. Gods past acts of faithfulness in our lives motivate us to believe, even when there is no evidence of his present involvement. Second, habakkuk extols Gods faithful character. Looking beyond what God did, he sees a God worthy to be trusted and believed, even when he appears inactive.
    Mark 11:22-25.

    We cant give up Weary of heart, come to the prayer tent on sunday and lets tell our loving Father as it is together. i am praying for you and we shall be waiting for you at the prayer tent.

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  12. Its so much in the middle of a mysterious story that it is hard to make any meaningful comment. However, thanks be to God for Sifa and James as these are real-time testimonies of God at work. It is just like it was when Jesus physically walked the face of this earth. God indeed sees, we win and I matter…I am still absorbing the teaching and asking God for wisdom and knowledge to understand and apply His teaching. There are still difficult questions I am asking Him since the previous sunday when it was revealed that doubt leads to learning. Thank you Pst M. God bless you all and grant us knowledge and understanding of His word.

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  13. We do win in the end i can testify to that, i doubt God, get angry at him from time to time but God has come through for me and my Family in ways i can not even quatify…ever heard that God may not always come when you call but he will be right on time…this is what keeps me going when i grow weary of praying,waiting and doing the right thing.

    i cant help but cry when i think what he ha s done for me and my family he gave us food when we didnt have any, he restored us when there was despair..he made me to be who i am today because of his constant grace and Mercy

    Be encourage….Am sure if you look back in your life there is an instance that you remeber where whatever happened was Gods doing…this is enough to beileve that he hears, he sees,he crys with us he feels our pain he is by our side every step of the way praying that we will trust him enough to see us through whatever we are going through

    If God came the very second we called he will be our “get out of jail free card”no need to build a relationship just “dail a solution/rescue’ It is indeed darkest before dawn and even when there is no reason to believe….believe because he sees and he hears when we call….be encouraged

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  14. One of the amazing things about the summon I was able to understand why God Does what he does. Some years ago When Serving in Mission field I was Kidnapped and before the kidnapping i was in a prison for 2 weeks just a few days off from Preaching in a closed Country, I had many questions why God could not Just open the doors as He is God why Does He allow people who are serving him to get hurt, to add pepper in the would During the Kidnapping i was sexually abused beaten and drug and I was left Paralyzed on my left body part When i was taken to Hospital i was diagnosed with Bipolar and Hospitalized For 3 months in ICU and later taken to A Mental Institute for 2 months. In all my live I had never had any trouble with my health now I was sick, broke,Mission life come to end Shame. I was bitter with many Questions of Why me as i had seen most of my family members who had no regard for God succeed but now haven chosen to serve God, God had let me down. I Came back home in Kenya and I was put off by my family and left on my own I ended up living in a slum . But God Had A bigger plan God begun a healing process first with my past Child abuse and rape that had occurred while i was young God open a door I was able to get to my feet and went back to ministry and Later i was able to move out and God begun to share His Plan and purpose for my life. He gave me a passion to help raise other missionaries and till today that’s what i do. The summon Made me thank God as I have seen the greatness of God in my life in a different way were God has fought my Battles and set A table for me Today God has Healed me in Ministry And Happily Married.

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  15. God's daughter Says:

    Though i didn’t make to come for service on Sunday, by reading the stories above and the sermon, I’m moved to tears. thanks pastor M for letting God use you. Now I’m understanding why some things happen to me.

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  16. Maybe this will encourage someone. These are lyrics from a song that I have had on playback this week. It wasn’t the best week; but it wasn’t the worst either.
    I didn’t get an answer, and so help me if I have to stand up in church one more time for prayers!! But I am trying to ‘Hold on!’ See below.. hope it helps someone

    THIS TEST IS YOUR STORM
    “I have listened to you; I have heard your request
    I’ve come to tell you, that it’s only a test
    Just hold on, through your storm
    Be strong, just hold on
    This test is your storm, but it won’t be long, go through, ‘Hold on!’
    […]
    Don’t you know the darkest time in your life is just before the break of dawn
    God promised, all your battles I will fight, if you just ‘Hold on!’

    Your tears have been plenty, in the still of the night
    You’ve prayed now you’re empty, just too weak to fight
    Just hold on, through your storm
    Be strong, and hold on!
    This test is your storm, but it won’t be long, go through, Hold on!
    […]
    Nevertheless, its only a test, Hold on!

    hold on people

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  17. Daughter of Zion 27 Says:

    I hadn’t thought of querying God until i lost what i treasured, I lost my twins (girls) – November 2009, I lost my mum March 2010 this was just an addition of other day to day situations which i had faith that is was going to overcome with time. Being the first born of four i have had responsibilities from the time i completed high school at 17, my mum had decided to quit marriage and i had to take care of my two bros 14 & 8 and my sister aged 4 then.

    I lost my mum we had just started getting along as i really took long to forgive her and her death really affected me that i even backslid.

    At this point i dont even know where to start so i may serve God and have a tight relationship like i did before.

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    • My heart goes out to you Daughter of Zion. The fact that you’ve gone through so much pain and yet still believe in God and are searching for Him shows that your faith and hope is not entirely dead. There is a God-shaped hole in all of us and nothing else can fill it. God has seen everything you’ve been through. It doesn’t make sense why you would have to go through it all, but God is the only one with the answers.
      I would like to encourage you to ask Him those hard questions. You may feel like you have been away from God for too long to ask Him, but God is never far away. He has loved you with an everlasting love that reaches as far as you are.
      Please read Psalm 126 and 139.
      May God reveal Himself to you in a real way.

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  18. Wonderful wonderful is all i can say.Praise be to God.I am going to read habbakuk and try to understand our world through the experience that he went through and to know that there is hope.God bless you all.

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  19. As crazy as it sounds, I really really do not believe God is able to cause evil. See – God is Love and there is certainly no evil in Love. I think the question is what is Love. When we answer that question, we quickly realize that love (God) cannot force another individual to choose even what he thinks is the right choice. That would not be love. Love is to present the soul both choices: here is life and here is death – choose. That is what God is…He allows us to choose; He gives us the freedom to choose. If we choose Him, He has promised to pour Himself faithfully, totally, and fruitfully on us. What a great promise. Let’s also keep in mind that Love (God) gave up his only son for us…why is it difficult to contemplate Jesus on the Cross? because we struggle with the issues mentioned here on this blog. Please read the following article to help you contemplate Our Lord on the cross. http://www.jesusdivinemercy.com/Main/
    God bless you

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