A young lady I don’t even know yet asked me a very good question via e-mail. She wanted to know why it is if God loves us that He allows us to experience so much sadness and pain in life. She said she sometimes questions whether He loves us as much as she is taught in her church.
I told her I believe that is a fair question. And it is a good question. It is a question theologians have wrestled with and it is the question of “theodicy”…if God loves us why does suffering exist.
My brief answer (I have much more to say about it) centers around the “fall of man” in Genesis 3. When Adam and Eve sinned, the entire universe was affected by it. Genesis 3:10 says they were afraid of God (sin brought separation from God); 3:15 speaks of enmity (sin caused separation between humans); 3:16 speaks of pain in childbirth (sin affected us physically – pain would be a normal part of life); 3:17 says the ground was cursed (sin affected nature – not just the ground but natural disasters would occur). This is why Paul wrote in Romans 8:22 that all of creation has been groaning. The verse before that spoke of how creation will be liberated from its bondage to decay when Christ comes and we experience the glory of the new heavens and new earth.
Speaking of that Revelation 21 says that when that time comes all suffering, crying and pain will be no more. It says because the old order of things will have passed away – that was speaking about the world under the curse of sin.
But all of us know the ultimate place to look when we are tempted to doubt the love of God, is the cross. Would a God who only kind of/sort of loved us allow that to happen to His one and only Son? The cross is God’s eternal “YES” when it comes to the question of whether or not He loves us (Rom. 5:8).