Session Two: Why Does God Allow Pain and Suffering?
Why does God allow pain and suffering? This is a very common question and is possibly the most difficult to answer. It is undoubtedly one of the most significant obstacles for many people who are questioning whether God exists or whether they should trust him. So, if this has been a hard question for you, know that you’re not alone.
Questions for Discussion
Choose from this list of questions or ask some of your own to facilitate discussion. There’s no need to limit your discussion to these questions or to feel pressured to cover all of them in the time you have.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how difficult is it for you to reconcile the existence of both suffering and God (1 = easy; 10 = impossible)? Why?
“Some of the best lessons I’ve learned in life . . . came from very painful times.” In what ways might good come from bad? Do you have any experience with this?
If there’s a God, why do you think he allows evil in the world?
1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
What did you think of the suggestion that God “understands our suffering and is seeking to heal it”?
The Problem of Evil states that an all-powerful and perfectly good God would not allow evil to exist in the world. Responses to this argument vary within Christianity and other faiths. Maybe it’s a test of our faith. Or perhaps God is simply unable to change our circumstances.
Romans 8:18 says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” In this passage, the Apostle Paul suggests that something good always comes of something bad. Indeed, a few verses later he affirms that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” Scripture proposes that, despite the painful circumstances in which we often find ourselves, God can somehow use them for his and our good.