Does God cause suffering?

In the midst of our suffering, Jesus doesn’t give us a why, He gives us Himself. In Him, we have the hope that suffering and illness do not get the last word, He does. He promises resurrection and life forever. That is what has given me the most peace and comfort in the midst of my pain and suffering.
Every other religion essentially says you get what you deserve. But the whole point of the cross is to destroy any hint of karma. In Jesus, we get what we don’t deserve. And even better, we get what Jesus deserves. Christianity is set apart from every world religion because the God of Christianity comes down to suffer for us and with us.
We don’t always know why Jesus allows some things to happen to us—like miscarriage, stroke, divorce, death, loss of a job, starvation, or rape. All these things beg the question, where is Jesus and how could He allow this? Jesus coming to suffer doesn’t necessarily give us a specific reason for why He allows some things and doesn’t allow others, but it does show us what the reason isn’t. We can know without a shadow of doubt that the reason He allows things isn’t because He doesn’t love us (see Romans 8:38–39).
Many people think that since they can’t find a good reason for why suffering exists, there must not be one and there must not be a good God. But just because we can’t think of a reason for our suffering doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Suffering, pain, and evil can be linked to the fall of man. In the beginning, in order for love to exist, God had to give humans a choice to obey Him or disobey Him. To obey or trust Him was to love Him, and to not trust or obey Him was to love something else entirely.
The choice not to trust God set in motion the consequences of sin— evil, suffering, injustice. The reason God gave humans this choice was for the purpose of love to exist. God never wanted to force us to love Him. Suffering and evil are the result of sin and humanity’s choice to not trust God. But don’t misunderstand me. Your suffering is not because of God’s response to your sin.
Obviously, there are consequences to our actions and our sin. If we murder someone, we will go to jail. But if you lose your job or someone in your life dies, it’s not because you struggle with lying or pride. We live in a broken and fallen world, and bad things just happen. Jesus came down to suffer for us and promised to always suffer with us. That gives us a lot of understanding about what suffering isn’t.
Jesus is not the creator of our suffering or pain. He allows it in order for us to be free people who can choose to love or not. But He does not cause it. And He is still ultimately in control of this universe. By control, I don’t mean a puppeteer. I mean that His plan to restore, redeem, and rescue His people can’t be thwarted by us. He is so sovereign that He can give us free choice and still have His plans work out.
Your suffering is not punishment from Jesus. He is not punishing us or shaming us or guilting us or condemning us for our sin (see Romans 8:1). Jesus is not hurling disaster at this world. He wants to save the world, not condemn the world ( John 3:17). He wants to draw people by His kindness, not His wrath (Romans 2:14). As believers, He’s not against us, He’s for us (Romans 8:31).
Your suffering and pain is not from Jesus. He’s the One who saves, not the one who inflicts suffering. He’s the One who protects us, not causes us pain (2 Thessalonians 3:3; Psalm 46:1). He’s not the reason behind our pain; He’s our refuge in our pain. He’s not the cause; He’s the comfort.
Your suffering is not Jesus’s trying to teach you a lesson. You (or any sane parent) wouldn’t break your two-year-old child’s leg to teach them a lesson. God is not breaking you or hurting you or causing you pain in order to teach you a lesson. Nowhere in the New Testament does it say God is breaking us; instead, it says He is building us up (Colossians 2:7; Ephesians 4:12; 2 Corinthians 10:8).
God is not playing good cop/bad cop with us, causing our pain one moment and then comforting us the next. No! He is our great Comforter. He is in the midst of all our suffering, feeling all that we feel. Can we learn and grow from suffering? Sure. But God doesn’t need suffering to teach us a lesson. Jesus is a gentle, kind, and loving teacher. And He’s not hurting you, breaking you, or harming you in any way. His mission is to build you up and set you free (Colossians 2:6; John 8:32).
Your suffering and pain are not because of your lack of faith either. As children of God, we each have been given faith as a gift (Ephesians 2:8–9; Romans 12:3). We don’t need more faith. The Bible says we are complete and have everything we need to live life and live godly (Colossians 2:10; 2 Peter 1:3).
There’s a popular teaching out there that says that if you have enough faith, you won’t have any problems. But apparently Jesus and the apostles didn’t get that message because they were all poor, and they all suffered and died for their faith. Our hope and assurance isn’t in overcoming our circumstances; it’s in the truth that Jesus has overcome the world.
We exercise faith every day. If you’re reading this in a chair, then you have faith the chair will hold you up. But your faith isn’t holding you up, the chair is. Our faith isn’t what holds us and keeps us, Jesus is. Our faith simply trusts that Jesus will do what He says He will do.
Further, many think that if we buck up and get to work or try harder, then we can “break through” our suffering and experience a better life or better circumstances.This isn’t the gospel or Christianity.Instead,everything we need we have in Christ, and our suffering cannot rob what we have in Christ. Being a believer doesn’t remove us from suffering, but it does give us God’s sufficient grace in the midst of all the pain we go through.
It’s worth repeating: your suffering and pain is not because Jesus doesn’t love you. Often, our suffering, hurt, and pain causes us to see God through a filter of shame. We think He’s distant, irrelevant, or just fed up with us. Not true. He loves you. He even likes you. He’s absolutely delighted in all that you are. His love is independent of your behavior. His love isn’t based on your obedience, faithfulness, or commitment to Him. His love and care for you is unconditional, with no strings attached. There’s nothing you can do to change God’s love for you. Nothing.
Further, the Bible gives us clear answers on what Jesus is doing in the midst of our suffering and pain. Christ is in you, through it all. He feels and experiences all the pain that you feel. He’s not far off or on the other side. He’s in it with you. He loves you. He’s comforting you. He cares for you. God causes all things to work together for our good (Romans 8:28), but He doesn’t cause all things. He is suffering with you, mourning with you, grieving with you. Holding you. Loving you. And never letting you go.
This is why we need to know that it’s okay to be weak. It’s okay to be mad. It’s okay to doubt. It’s okay to grieve.
In all of your pain and hurt and suffering, know this: your connection to Jesus is not about your hold on Him, but His hold on you. Your closeness to Him is not based on your faithfulness to Him, but His faithfulness to you. Jesus’s promises to never leave you, always comfort you, and never punish you do not rest on the promises you make to Him, but on the promises He’s made to you.
The Bible also tells us what Jesus is doing about our suffering and pain. It started at the cross and through the resurrection. He launched His plan to rid the world of evil and suffering once and for all. Through the cross, He suffered so that one day we would never have to. And through the resurrection, He defeated death and evil, so that one day we can live free from it forever.
Now, He is working everything we go through for our good. How? Sometimes I don’t really know. It doesn’t always feel like He is in a specific moment. But as I reflect on all the suffering and pain of my life, I can clearly see how He redeemed my suffering. No matter what, we can trust that God wastes nothing. And at His return, He will rid evil once and for all. Evil, sin, and suffering all have expiration dates. 
I used to think suffering robbed me of God’s presence, but I now see that God is with me and living in me through it all. If Christ is all I need, then suffering doesn’t rob me of anything. It shows me, at a deeper level, all I already have in Christ.
Life is painful and hard and tiresome, but Jesus is not. He is gentle and humble with you. That’s how Jesus describes His own heart toward you and me (Matthew 11:29). Trusting Him is easy and light, not difficult or tiresome. He’s never pointing a bony finger at you but always facing you with open arms. He’s always available to you. There are no hoops to jump through to enjoy His life and love.
Trusting in God in the midst of our pain and suffering is not about working or trying. It’s not about doing more or working hard. Trusting Jesus is not some burden or law. It’s supposed to be easy and light.
It’s simply believing. It’s believing that He cares for us. In the same way that we care for a hurt body part, Christ cares for us: “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church” (Ephesians 5:29–30).
J. R. R. Tolkien asked a question in his book The Return of the King: “Is everything sad going to come untrue?” Yes, at Christ’s return everything painful and sad will come untrue, and by God’s goodness, He restores and works it for our good.

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