Suffering: Why Does God Allow It?

By   •   November 30, 2007   •   Topics:

God is still there despite any tragedy you may be experiencing. But why does God allow suffering?

On Nov. 21, 1980, when the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas burned, survivors were brought into the Convention Center, where our Crusade meetings were being held. In an interview, Governor Robert List talked about the good times at the MGM only 24 hours before. “And how quickly,” he said, “the music has stopped.”

Some day, for all of you, if you don’t know God, the music will stop. It will all be over. The Bible says, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

The Bible says that Job suddenly lost all of his wealth and his children. The devil said to God, “If You take all those possessions away from him, he’ll curse You and turn from You.” But God replied, “You can do anything to him, except you can’t kill him, and then we’ll see” (Cf. Job 1:11-12).

Job never asked why those things were happening to him. The closest he ever came was when he said, “Show me why You contend with me” (Job 10:2). Job was sharing his agony of spirit with the very God he could not understand.

Suffering carries a message of mystery. The Bible says, “Great is the mystery of godliness” (1 Timothy 3:16). When I was asked to explain the tragedy of the fire at the MGM Grand Hotel, I had to say, “There’s a mystery to tragedies like this. We don’t know the answer.” And we may never know until God explains all things to us.

For humans, there is a mystery as to why God created the earth. There is a mystery as to why He put people on this earth. But God has revealed answers through the Bible and through the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ. In the Bible you will find the answers to the questions and the problems of your life.

But man rebelled against God. Man said, “I don’t need You, God. I can build my world without You.” God said, “If you take that position, you will suffer and die.” Man took that position, and he began to suffer, and he has been dying ever since. Physical death is just the death of the body, but the spirit lives on. If your spirit is separated from God for eternity, it will be lost forever.

The Bible teaches that Satan is the author of sin. Sin is the reason that we have afflictions, including death. All of our problems and our suffering, including death itself, are a result of man’s rebellion against God. But God has provided a rescue in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ. That’s why Christ died on the cross. That’s why He rose from the dead.


In suffering there is also a message of compassion. Jesus said, “for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me” (Matthew 25:35-36).

As fire swept through the MGM Grand Hotel, I saw the emergency crews, the military people, The Salvation Army, the Red Cross, the doctors, the nurses and the people coming to donate clothes and food. I saw compassion in action.

In suffering there is a message of unity. Jesus prayed “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You” (John 17:21). And that’s the way we ought to be as Christians, one in Christ. If you have been born into the family of God, you are a child of God. You are brothers and sisters.

Suffering holds a message of comfort. In Second Corinthians we read:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Because tragedy happened to you, it gives you a greater sense of oneness with others who experience tragedy. You can feel for them in that suffering situation. Because we have been comforted through the Word of God, we in turn may be able to comfort others.

What should be our attitude toward suffering?

First, it should be one of worship. We ought to say, “O God, I believe You are the great and mighty God. I don’t understand all the things that are happening in my life, but, O God, I trust in You.”

Second, we should ask God to teach us all He would have us learn about Him, about ourselves, about others and how we can minister to those who are suffering.

Third, our attitude in suffering should glorify God. People are going to watch us as Christians. They will ask, “How is it that Christ is so in control of his or her life that he or she was able to help others?”

Jesus suffered and died for us on the cross, but God raised Him from the dead. Jesus Christ now sits at the right hand of God the Father, and He sees our suffering. He sees our life every day and knows exactly where we stand.

The Bible teaches that we are to be patient in suffering. That’s the hardest thing of all, to be patient, to have songs in the night. Ask God to help you have a trusting, patient attitude, and flee from bitterness.

In suffering there is also, I believe, a message of warning. Are you prepared to meet God? What do you have to do to be ready? God took the initiative in giving His Son, Jesus Christ. God says, “I love you. I want to forgive you. I want you to go to heaven.” But you must respond to Him. Find hope, peace, and security today.


Do You Need God’s Love in Your Life?

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  1. Cathy says:

    I know that my Lord is in control. But sometimes I feel hopeless. The LORD has seen us through alot. But I seem to feel like I am alone when I am not. Please pray for my family and me.

  2. lilly says:

    My husband and I were married in church serving God and he now sits in prison from false allegations on his life. We have both stayed in the word and have faith that God is going to destroy the wicked that has came from a vindictive ex. We pray for her to repent and confess she made this trial up out of anger. This woman needs God. I need my husband home. Why did God allow a sinner to destroy our home.. I have served God since I was 10 Yrs old. He accepted Christ one yr before we married. Please explain how we are being separated by a lie which never occurred. He is strong but needs answers and so do I. Do we let Satan win and give up or where is our scripture to bring him out of prison. Set free. Our life is God first then us always.

  3. Diane says:

    My mommys dying of an aggressive cancer with no name a God loving woman who is suffering…… I’m praying my faith stays strong in the Lord because at times I feel defeated

  4. D. Staff says:

    Yes. We understand somewhat the reasons for our sufferings but do not know the Lords plan. After 2,000 yrs it looks like it’s time for devine intervention with all the chaos in the world. I’ve noticed some of the signs but not all. Why have a world with so much hate?. Doesn’t make sense and just suppose we do encounter intelligence from another world. We’d fight with them too. We’re so despicable.

  5. becky says:

    Thx soo much for these great words of encouragement am going through alot with my marriage but I believe dat he knows the way that I take,when he has tested me I will come forth as gold.Job23:10

  6. Margaret Ware says:

    Please pray for me, my husband Joseph, and 2 children Aniyah and Joseph Jr. Please also pray that God blesses me with a real good job and great childcare for my children. Thank you. Margaret. E Ware

  7. Yorleny says:


  8. BSimmons says:

    Great words of encouragement.

  9. jezriel cereno says:

    thanks for the wonderfull message.i have learned many things about why christian people suffer.thank you and GOD BLESS

  10. John says:

    Praise. God for his unconditional. Love and Hope through. Jesus. Amen