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. Very Confused says:

    I am a true believer of god. My struggle is with mu husband, he was court-ordered no alcohol at all to be able to see his child.
    HE has not followed that order at all. HE says no one has a right to tell him that. I told him God puts those in power there and we are to follow the law. SINCE then something always interupts his visits. I tell him if God wanted you to be a part of your child’s life you would be. But you’re not following the laws set forth therefore you suffer without seeing your child. I don’t know if this is right or wrong but I truly believe, that it was blessing to get to see him with rules. To me it was test to see how faithful he is to God. PLEASE help

  2. Jena Cuthbertson says:

    Going to go through a divorce. Please help me get closer to God and stay strong through this. I can’t make sense of it all and worry all the time.

  3. Uzziel says:

    Please I really need your advice as Christians.

  4. Sally Hall says:

    So hard to see my grandchildren depressed and angry. Their mom yells at them a lot, I don’t judge her, her mom yelled at her too. It breaks my heart, I pray for them, it’s hard to have hope that as they grow up their whole lives will be effected by this.

  5. Dria Carr says:

    My life has spiraled out of control….I’m trying to talk to God but maybe I’ve done too much….too little to late.

    1. Laura Bailey says:

      Hi Dria,

      God made you and He loves you more than you can imagine and has a good purpose for your life (not just to suffer). … That because you and every one of us are separated from God by our sins—choosing to live our lives our own way, He sent His only Son into the world to lay down His life in death as a perfect sacrifice to pay for our sins. And that if we trust in His Son, Jesus, accept His sacrifice as payment for our sin, and hand over our lives to Him, He will give us new lives with hope for the future.

      2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Christ can transform our lives from the inside out, but we must accept His free gift of forgiveness and love. If we don’t, He will allow us to keep living life our own way with all its frustration and despair.

      We know you feel that life for you has hit a dead-end. But you need to know that nothing is impossible for Jesus. Luke 1:37 says, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” He created you, He owns you and your life, and taking your own life is as far from Jesus’ love as you can get. But if you give your life to Jesus—meaning putting Him first, and let Him shape your life, nothing can ever separate you from His love.

      Please go to PeaceWithGod and read more. You can also talk online with our volunteers or all 1-877-247-2426.

      God bless you!
      – BGEA Team


  6. Dria Carr says:

    I need help, I’m so lost.

    1. BGEA says:

      Hi Dria,

      We encourage you to go online to our website, PeaceWithGod” target=”_blank”> We have trained volunteers who can talk with you.

      God bless you!

      – BGEA Team

  7. Johnluke Dhari says:

    Amen. May God increase our faith and give us a courage to carry our daily cross. Amen.

  8. Sandra says:

    We live in a spiritual world. We either serve God or Satan, no other choice. Either way we will suffer but the difference is how we will suffer. With Christ he will show us and tell us in the bible how to suffer. His grace will help us to endure. Knowing that the flesh is going to eventually die but the spirit could go to heaven is enough reason to believe in Jesus and to stop doubting God. We have to seek HIM and ask HIM for understanding of HIS word. If there is confusion and lots of drama in your life, then you have to find a quiet place to talk to God and eventually HE will show up. It’s usually in the midnight hours or wee in the mornings. Think about it; it is then the quietest times of the day. Calm your minds and welcome God.

  9. Ana says:

    I too have had a horrible childhood. I suffered abuse in every aspect from the age of 4 up until I went out on my own at the age of 17. I then went on to abuse drugs and alcohol and made very many bad choices. I’m now 36 and married. I never thought I’d marry but here we are. I thought it would be the start of a happy life finally but I’m 9 weeks pregnant and I feel like I’m dying. The past 4 years I’ve had cardiac symptoms that have gone undiagnosed. I know I’ve caused some sort of damage to myself with the drinking. I’m so scared that I might die and not be there for my husband and children. I’ve been asking God since this all started for a diagnoses at least, but nothing. Just left to suffer without knowing. I just want an answer.

    1. Sandra says:

      You are not alone. I know it must feel like it. Just continue to pray and then let it go, don’t doubt. Then when you at least expect it, you will hear from Jesus. I longed for Jesus to come into my life. I cleaned my house spotless, got rid of old stuff and donated it. I then went to my quiet place and welcomed Jesus Christ into my home. It was the best decision I had ever made in my life. To wake up in the morning to say “Good morning, Jesus, God and angels is awesome. I don’t fear anything, because to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord! Stay humbled, loving and know that Jesus is right there beside you waiting for you to welcome HIM into your home.

  10. debra says:

    I was not blessed with a good childhood nor good parents or family. It is hard when no one teaches you the way, you are left to struggle and figure it all out on your own. Because of this I led a life filled with abandonment, pain and a lot of suffering. I feel I made many many bad choices in life though never meaning to hurt anyone. I have asked forgiveness for my sins yet I almost feel doomed and as though I doomed my family. We have an awful lot of bad happenings. I have a wonderful husband and two wonderful daughters and things never seem to go good for any of us. I think it may help if I found forgiveness for myself possibly? I know I am a good loving person but feel I need a clean slate. Bless my family please.

    1. BGEA says:

      Hi Debra,

      Thank you for writing. Just prayed for your family. I pray you’ll find this article from Billy Graham about forgiveness helpful in learning how to forgive yourself. God bless you and keep praying about this and He will answer in His time.

      – BGEA staff