Finding God's Goodness When Life Hurts

Day 1 of 3 • This day’s reading

Devotional

There are two types of people: those who are currently suffering a tragedy and those who will soon be suffering a tragedy. While this may sound fatalistic, it is simply reality.

The first question that pops into our heads is, “Why? Why is there pain? Why is there suffering? Why is there evil?”

Many find themselves forced to ask the question, “If God is good, how can He allow suffering and evil to go on, seemingly without restraint?”

These questions will be asked until the very end of time. It is natural for us to question someone’s love if the person does not seem to care. But at the same time, we must be extremely careful about jumping to conclusions.

To answer a question much bigger than my small brain can handle, I suggest we turn to what God has said about these things.

The question we must begin with is not, why does God allow evil, but rather, where did evil come from?

According to Genesis, the book of beginnings, God created the heavens and the Earth, and all things that dwell on the Earth. This beautiful, blue orb, with all its wonders and splendor, was spoken into existence. And God said it was good.

Adam and Eve lived in a garden called Eden. Imagine rivers and streams, waterfalls, colorful birds, and great beasts as gentle as lambs. There was plenty to eat, drink, and do. It was paradise—no pain, disease, death, or evil.

God put a particular tree in the middle of all the trees in the garden. Without this tree, called “The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil,” humans would be no more than robots. True love is only true if you choose to love and are not forced. God did not want to force us to love Him, or it would not be love. So, by giving Adam and Eve a choice, He was willing to allow them to make the wrong choice. It is called free will. Just as they had free will, we have it today.

Of course, they made the wrong choice. Adam and Eve gave in to the temptation to eat of this tree, and so began the first of thousands of years of suffering. Sin was passed down from father to child, from generation to generation (Romans 5:12). Sin presently reigns supreme in this world and can be traced back to this moment in the garden.

So, if we are looking for someone to blame, we must first look at ourselves. And while Satan should not be far behind in the blame game, we cannot blame him for our bad choices.

This is not to say that the present pain you are going through is your own doing. Many times, we experience pain and heartache due to the choices of those close to us. But the source of all this pain and suffering is sin.

Know this: whether the pain you are dealing with was caused by someone else, or you brought it upon yourself, God is walking beside you as you go through it. Luke 12:6–7 reminds us that God knows and cares for each of the sparrows, and we are of more value to God than the birds. He can take what seems so dark and painful and use it for His glory.