GOD’S PROVIDENCE AND HUMAN SUFFERING
God’s providence in biblical revelation is not an abstract doctrine but one that concerns everyday living in an evil and fallen world.
- Everyone experiencing suffering at times in his or her life and inevitably asks the question “Why” For example Job. In the book of Job 7: 17-21; Why standest thou afar off, O Lord? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble? Psalm 10:1. Such experience raises questions about the reality of evil and its place in God’s plan.
- God allows humans to experience the consequences of the sin that entered the world through the fall of Adam and Eve. Joseph, for example, suffered much because of his brother’s jealousy and cruelty. He was sold by his brothers into slavery and became Potiphar’s slave in Egypt Genesis 37, 39.
While living a God-fearing life in Egypt, he was unjustly charged with immorality, thrown into prison and was kept there for over two years. Genesis 40: God may allow suffering because of the evil actions of fellow human beings. Even though he can supersede such deeds to work out His will. According to Joseph testimony, God was working through the sins of his brothers to preserve life. Genesis 45:5; 50:20.
- Not only do we suffer from consequences of other sins, we also experience the consequences of our own sinful action, for example, the sin of immorality and adultery, often results in the breakdown of one’s marriage and family. The sin of unchecked anger against another person can lead to severe injury or even the death of one or both of those involved, the sin of greed may result in a prison sentence for someone who has stolen or embezzled.
- Suffering also occurs in the world because Satan, the god of this world, is permitted to do his work by blinding the minds of unbelievers and controlling their lives. 2nd Corinthians 4:4. To say that God allows suffering does not mean that God causes the evil that happens to us in this world, or that He personally decree all of life’s tragedies.
God is never the instigator of evil or ungodliness James: 1:13. Nevertheless, He does at times permit it, direct it and overrule it, to carry out His will, to accomplish His Redemptive purpose and in all things to work for the good of those who love Him. Romans 8:28.