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Question: Why do some people have to suffer? Is it because they
have sinned in the past?

1. God is all knowing (Psa.139; 1 Jno.3:20); all loving (1 Jno.
4:8,16); and all-powerful (Jer.32:17). But some conclude that if
you serve God faithfully, He will keep you from all serious
suffering. This is a misconception, as is seen from the book of
Job. He lost all of his wealth and possessions, all 10 of his
children were killed. Then he lost his health and was covered with
boils from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. Even his
wife turned against him and advised him to "curse God and die." Job
did not suffer because he was wicked and disobedient--Job 1:8, God
Himself said Job was a "blameless and upright man, one who fears
God and shuns evil." But the lesson to be learned is that God is
worthy of our praise and worship, because He is God, even when
every physical and visible reason for serving Him has been taken

2. In reality, suffering comes to us from various sources. We often
suffer as the result of personal mistakes and sins. (Prov.
23:29,30). Or remember the suffering experienced by the prodigal
son (Lk.15). cf. 1 Pet. 4:15. One million Americans are infected
with HIV; 110,000,000 worldwide.

3. Suffering also comes to us as the result of the sins of others.
Thing of the mother who inadvertently infects her baby with AIDS,
or of the drunkard's family.

4. Suffering comes as the result of societies which ignore God;
present day India.

5. When God made man, He could either make him with free moral
agency, or without free moral agency; either with freedom of
choice, or as a robot, who could only do what he was programmed to
do. WE know that God made man with the ability to choose. This
means that one can choose to sin. Suffering that comes with sin
could not be eliminated unless God had made man such that he could
not choose, and he could not sin.

6. Some suffering exists simply because we are in a body of flesh,
and the flesh is frail. 2 Cor. 4:16; 1 Pet. 1:24; Heb. 9:27; Eccl.
12. God has not promised that we will be spared from death and
bereavement. But He has promised to be with His children, to
strengthen them, and not to forsake them (Heb. 4:14-16; 13:5,6;
Phil. 4:13; Psa. 73:23-26; John 10:27-29).

7. Some suffering is for righteousness sake (1 Pet. 4:16; Acts
14:22). cf. John 16:33: "In this world you will have trouble."
Further, note Acts 12: James was beheaded, but Peter was rescued.

8. Benefits of suffering: a) Pain lets us know when we are being
burned; when we need to see a doctor. b) Can contribute to our
spiritual development (James 1:12). Sudden calamities remind us of
life's brevity. Suffering helps to keep us from becoming too
attached to the material realm. This world is not my home.
Suffering often leads men to turn to God. It can help prepare us
for heaven.

Source consulted: B. Bromling, R&R Aug.1990

If you have corrections, questions, comments or suggestions about these questions and answers, please contact Leon Mauldin directly at

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