We oftentimes say, “how can a God of love permit such things in His world as war, sickness, pain, and death, especially when their effects often are felt most keenly by those who are apparently innocent?“ And we conclude that either He is not a God of love and is indifferent to human suffering, or else He is not a God of power and is therefore helpless to do anything about it. The most sure thing is that the world is now under God’s curse (Genesis 3:17) because of man’s rebellion against God’s Word. Since “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), there is no one who has the right to freedom from God’s wrath on the basis of his own innocence.
But have you ever thought about the sufferings of God the Son, Lord Jesus Christ, who was the only truly “innocent” and “righteous” man in all history, nevertheless has suffered more than anyone else who ever lived on this planet?
And this He did for us! “Christ died for our sins” (I Corinthians 15:3). He suffered and died, in order that ultimately He might deliver the world from the curse of the Law, and that, even now, He can deliver from sin and its bondage anyone who will receive Him in faith as personal Lord and Savior. With our full faith in God’s goodness and in Christ’s redemption, we can recognize that our present sufferings can be turned to His glory and our good.
The sufferings of unsaved men are often used by the Holy Spirit to cause them to realize their needs of salvation and to turn to Christ in repentance and faith. The sufferings of Christians should always be the means of developing a stronger dependence on God and a more Christ-like character, if they are properly “exercised thereby” (Hebrews 12:11).
Thus, God is loving and merciful, even when, “for the present,” He allows trials and sufferings to come in our lives. “For we know that all things (whether good or bad) work together for good to them who love God, to them who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Amen.