I don't have to tell you that we live in a world that is full of suffering. The dictionary describes suffering as "the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship." Not a day goes by that we don't see or hear information that brings suffering. Perhaps it's a cancer diagnosis, a loved one's death, or a job loss. Maybe it's suffering that comes with mental illness or taking care of a sick child or an aging parent. Perhaps you've been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, or the recent fire disasters, or hurricanes. The year 2020 has been full of suffering, and I want to push the reset button. How about you?
It's important to understand that this isn't how God intended the world to be when He created it. In the book of Genesis, God created the heavens and earth and everything in it just as He wanted it to be. And it was good. He created humankind in His image, blessed them, and said that it was very good. All was perfect until sin entered with Adam and Eve's willful disobedience of God's command not to eat fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The serpent's temptation was intriguing, and Adam led mankind into sin by going against God and eating the forbidden fruit. Sin entered into God's faultless, sinless world, and with sin came suffering and death. We are all inheritors of this first original sin, which led Adam and Eve towards separation from God, expulsion from the Garden of Eden, evil, and death. God's perfect creation was shattered.
Although not all suffering arises from sin and evil, most of it does in our fallen world. Human wisdom will never know enough to answer all of life's "whys," and our finite minds will never understand why God doesn't intervene and stop suffering. It can't be side-stepped or surgically removed from our lives. Are you or a loved one suffering right now? How do you make sense of it all, and how do you respond to suffering? The Bible says that God is a faithful God full of promises that you can count on you when you suffer. He promises to always be with you. Through the one man's disobedience, we were made sinners and will suffer. The good news is that through the obedience of the One, we will be made righteous. Jesus Christ will "push the reset button" when He comes again.
Footnote: All illustrations in this devotional are taken from the Wiedmann Bible, a visual Bible with 3,333 hand-painted images of the Old and New Testament.