In the midst of some of life’s more grievous trials, our mind often finds itself fixated on one seemingly unanswerable question:
When our lives begin to come apart at the seams or we’re faced with a pain that feels unbearable, it’s almost impossible to not ask why. We want to know why God would allow something this terrible to happen to anyone, especially if He is the loving God He claims to be.
It’s at times like these that it becomes more important than ever to understand God’s purpose for suffering. The prophet Zechariah was inspired to write of a time of great trials to come, when the human race will be subjected to suffering it can’t yet begin to comprehend. In that description, we find why God allows us to suffer:
“I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; and each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God’” (Zechariah 13:9 Zechariah 13:9And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.
American King James Version×).
God doesn’t enjoy letting us hurt. He is a loving God who wants the best for each of us. He allows trials and suffering to occur in our lives for one purpose only—because it’s sometimes through the difficulties and the pain that He can take and shape us into the best we can be.
There’s much more to be said on the subject, and you’ll find links to more detailed answers below. But the key is this: If you’re hurting, it’s not because God has given up on you. He loves you. He’s willing to be there every step of the way, if you’ll let Him. The apostle Paul—a man who had been shipwrecked, beaten, stoned, whipped, jailed and subjected to countless other torments—had this to write about the difficulties of this life:
“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death?… I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35 Romans 8:35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
American King James Version×, 38-39, New Living Translation).
God loves and cares deeply about you. No trial will ever change that.
For more understanding, please read our booklet, Why Does God Allow Suffering .