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Suffering: Why Is Life Sometimes so Filled with Pain?

Life can be hard. Very hard. That hard might look different for different people, but pain and suffering enter every life at one point and to some degree or another. Some may even wonder, “Why are we here just to suffer?” Or “why does God allow suffering?” Or even “is there really a God with all this suffering?”

I remember discussing life’s pain and suffering one day with a young lady on a college campus. I’d just had a football-size tumor removed and was still recovering. The surgery came just a few years after an extensive traumatic brain injury recovery. It felt like life would never be done with suffering. My plans, which I’d been so excited about, all seemed to crumble with the surgery.


Why this? Why Now? Why me? They’re questions we all ask at one time or another. Could it be that if we rewire our thinking about the why’s, we’ll find a glimpse into the blessing God longs to bring in the challenge?

The future can certainly look black at times. We may struggle to see any light.

Yet as I talked with this young woman that day, I knew I had hope. The darkness doesn’t have to have the final say.

This world is not just suffering. Apart from a God, though, that’s what we should expect. If it’s just survival of the fittest, then how can you call pain evil? Yet we know it is because we were made for God’s presence–for a perfect world. We know this world isn’t what it should be. Our very ability to call suffering evil is because we’re moral beings, made by a God who cares about right and wrong.

Why, then, is there suffering in our lives? Pain and suffering wasn’t part of God’s original creation–it entered the world when man sinned. Sin severed our relationship with God, and brought death, just like God had warned.

God could have sent mankind to eternal punishment when we first sinned. The first man and woman (and all of us since then) rebelled against an eternal, completely powerful Creator. Yet instead, that powerful God chose to become a man, Jesus, suffer, and die to make a way for us to one day leave suffering and pain behind forever–to make a way back into His perfect presence.

…Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5b-8 (ESV)

In looking at the cross, we know God’s love, His goodness, and His mercy. We may not understand the specifics of why we have to go through specific suffering, yet we’ve only to think of the cross and what Jesus endured to know that God cares for us.

Whatever suffering and pain you’re facing, Jesus understands. He died the most cruel death imaginable at a young age, betrayed by a close friend.

Unlike us, though, Jesus chose to suffer. Why? Because only His death could pay the penalty for our sin to bring us eternal life.

 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (ESV)

Jesus endured suffering because He saw something eternal–because of the joy of having people who would believe in Him life in a perfect world for all eternity.

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 (ESV)

I don’t know what you’re facing in your life, but Jesus does. He sees beyond the darkness–He sees from eternity’s view. He cared enough for you to suffer in your place.

He doesn’t promise His followers easy lives. But He does promise eternity in a perfect world without pain or suffering–with no more tears (Revelation 21:1-4). He promises His presence with us in life’s suffering and pain, bringing supernatural peace and joy. He promises to work all things for good to those who love Him.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (ESV)

Dear reader, have you accepted Jesus’ gift of eternal life? If you haven’t, then the suffering and pain of this life has no hope–and eternity means even more pain. But if you’re reading this, it’s not to late to change courses. Simply cry out to Jesus, asking God to accept His death as a payment for your sin–all the things you think and do that fall short of perfection. Ask God to take over your life. He can and will. And if you do that, He will also be with you in life’s darkness, working eternal good only He can.


If you have already received Jesus but are struggling to walk through a hard time, please check out Rewire: A True Story About Life’s Whys. I share there my struggles through a traumatic brain injury, grief, and disappointment–and how God really did work for good. It’s my prayer that it will encourage you and help you walk through the darkness with God’s joy and peace.


Why this? Why Now? Why me? They’re questions we all ask at one time or another. Could it be that if we rewire our thinking about the why’s, we’ll find a glimpse into the blessing God longs to bring in the challenge?

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