St. John tells us that God is Love and when you love someone you want what is best for them. Why then all the suffering in our lives and in the world? We ask ourselves why does God allow it if he is all powerful and truly seeks our good? These are two questions that have been asked down through the ages.
Our Catholic faith gives us some profound insights into these very deep questions. Here are some reasons to consider as to why God allows suffering.
- To provoke us to search for him and to realize this present life is not our final end. (Illness often does this as it can make us glimpse death)
- To pray to God for the strength to deal with the pain we experience.
- To grow in virtue as suffering can make us humble and grateful.
- To bring us to a deeper faith.
It seems that the real reason God allows suffering is for the greater good of us all.
Finally, what do we do with our sufferings? Jesus said to rejoice in them. (Matt.5-11) And he said to all “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” His death on the cross was the greatest example of terrible suffering bringing about the greater good of all. There must be a great treasure in suffering if Christ recommends it.
Just a “caveat”….given our free will we can respond to suffering in two ways. Either we can turn toward God in trust because of the severity of the pain we are experiencing or we can harden our hearts and turn away even more.
What has been your experience with suffering?
What choice have you made?