There is a long standing, much argued debate going on all over the world over right now about the problems of evil and suffering in society. People are asking, “If there is a God who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and concern with the justice and well-being of humanity, how can there be so much evil and suffering?” This age-old question has incited atheists and agnostics alike. At times, even believers have been weighted down by feelings of abandonment by a God they love and serve, but cannot understand. And at the heart of it all is the cry for justice. Still, I believe the discussion will continue to the end of time.
The short, condensed answer to the question of evil and suffering is that we live in a fallen world. But pain and suffering is not fair and the hard truth—though many will disagree—is that it is firmly established in choice. It is also true that any answer I attempt to give may be ambiguous and hard to accept. The reality is that humans seek something invariable and tangible in order to understand the atrocities in our communities and in the world as a whole. We desire to make sense of evil and justify suffering, especially when it happened to the “good,” young and innocent. We need to make sense of our existence and we need to know that there is justice for the just and innocent. Our essential nature is to believe that which we can see, touch, and prove. However, because scientists and philosophers cannot come up with a satisfactory theory, or experiment to indisputably prove God as Supreme Being, many employed deceptive reasoning to deny His existence and His omnipresence. In the textbook, The Big Question, French philosopher Albert Camus defends the “absurd” by way of protest. He argues that “If there is no God, there could be no justice, and if there is no justice, then life was without meaning” (2006, p. 67).
Yet, the apostle Paul reminds us that, our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal: but the things which are not seen are eternal. (1 Corinthians 4:17-18 KJV).
So then whatever is happening in the world—pain, suffering, deaths, natural disasters, murders, injustices—should not diminish our trust and faith in God. These happenings should not disillusion us. Instead, we should know that there is a purpose in our suffering, whether we know what that is or not.
Excerpted from Splendid Remnants by Eunice Heath Tate