Is There a Connection Between Sin and Suffering? Part #2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Text: Job 2:9-13 (KJV)
Medical science can shed much light on the subject of pain. One physician has said, “We differentiate between pain that serves a useful purpose and pain that serves no useful purpose. Examples of pain that serves a useful purpose are a pain in the side that indicates appendicitis, pain in the back indicating a herniated disc, or difficulty in chewing indicating an abscessed tooth. But some pain serves no useful purpose, for instance, a muscle tension headache. It is a job for the doctor to differentiate between pain that serves a useful purpose and pain that is useless.”
We have several choices when faced with the problem of pain.
•First, we can ignore it. However, this could cause further damage, because pain is often a warning of a serious physical problem.
•Another choice is that we can investigate the cause of the pain. That means we will need to go to a doctor.
•Third, we can do something about the pain. Usually, that requires medicine or surgery. Dr. Norman L. Geisler wrote a book dealing with the problem of pain and the results of evil. He called it, “The Roots of Evil.” He explained that much pain comes directly from our own free choices.
•It also comes on us indirectly from the exercise of our freedom.
•We also experience pain because of the free choice of others.
•We experience some pain because of the good choices that other people make, but in which accidents are involved.
•And Geisler calls attention to the fact that some suffering occurs because of the activity of the evil spirits (Job 1:6; Matt. 17:14-19; Mark 5:1-13).
•However, some physical pains or evils may be God-given warnings of greater physical harms.
•Some physical suffering may be used by God to warn us against moral evils.C. S. Lewis once said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pain; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
•Some pain and suffering may be permitted as a condition of producing spiritual fine-tuning in our hearts and lives.
In the eighth chapter of Romans Paul wrote, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28). In other words, God works for good in all things. This verse does not assert that all things are good or that all things work together for good for all people. Rather it means that the great promise is that God will overrule and work even through the tragedies caused by sin’s presence in the world. And He will accomplish His purposes in the lives of those who love Him and who have responded to His call. God’s purpose is to make His children like His Son, and He will succeed. The Spirit intercedes for us and guides us as we pray, and the circumstances of life work for our good, no matter how painful they may be.
We have no satisfactory solution to the problem of pain and suffering.
Our great hope and unwavering faith must be in God, who throughout all the record of His self-revelation in the Scriptures reveals Himself as the God who is for life, and health, and relief from pain. In heaven, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying, or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev. 21:4, NIV). We should think of heaven not only as a destination but as a way of life. God is at work in the world to bring heaven into the present for those who will trust Christ and obey Him.
We can trust God to help us with the problem of pain and suffering. We can believe that He hurts when we hurt. We can believe that He weeps with us when we weep. And we can look forward by faith to the day when pain will be no more.