Millions of Christians find that their religion gives their lives purpose and meaning. However, many people find the realities of suffering in the world to be a stumbling block when it comes to their faith. People suffer from a myriad things: starvation, poverty, illness, and war, just to name a few. Some people wonder why God allows such things to happen. The study of this question is called theodicy.
Learning more about the Christian view on suffering in the world can help you strengthen your faith. You can find texts and classes designed to address this common question. Here are a few of the things Christians believe about suffering:
1. Suffering is caused by free will.
Christians don't know exactly why people suffer. God's plan is unknowable and beyond human comprehension, but many Christians believe that suffering is a consequence of free will. God gives people the ability to choose their own paths. Sometimes people choose to do wrong, and suffering results. God doesn't delight in suffering, but he allows mankind to make their own decisions.
2. Christ is with those who suffer.
One of the hardest parts of suffering can be the feeling that you're all alone. The feeling of being alone with your pain can be unbearable, but Christians can take comfort in the fact that they're never alone. Jesus is always with his children, especially those who suffer. He experiences suffering along with you, so you can take comfort in his presence. When your pain feels unbearable, you can cry out to God, knowing that He is there for you.
3. Suffering can be a test of faith.
Suffering can also be a test of faith. Christians are called to trust in God, no matter what happens. It can be difficult to trust God and praise Him when bad things happen, but it's important to remember that God is always in control. Some Christians believe that God sometimes uses suffering to test the faith of his children.
4. All suffering will cease when Christ returns.
Christians take a long view of eternity. They know that life doesn't end after death, but suffering does. Christians believe that Christ will one day return to defeat evil for good, at which point, He will make a new heaven and a new earth. All suffering will end when Christ wins his final victory, so Christians can take comfort in the fact that they're assured of victory in the end.
To learn more about Christian beliefs on suffering in the world, reach out to a theological institute, such as the Institute for Mere Christianity, to learn more.