Diane Epling

Where Is God When You Are Suffering?

Diane Epling


One of the most frequently asked questions is why God allows so much suffering. Non-believers often challenge Christians with this question, thinking it is unanswerable. If God is the God of love, where is He when nations are in chaos, innocent babies die, or martyrs give their lives because they refuse to deny their faith? Let’s look at these questions from a more personal perspective. Instead of making it about the problems of the world, let’s reduce this conversation to what could be the real question and the meaning behind it. Why am I suffering, God, and where are You when I am hurting?

If this topic is not brought up for the sake of argument, to distract or deflect when a Christian is sharing their faith, then you can bet this person is feeling abandoned in their suffering. Most of us know that feeling! We know God loves us, so why is it that we feel so much pain? One of the reasons is because we live in a fallen world. However, as Christians, we have to live in that world, but God tells us that we don’t have to be OF that world. In John 17:14-15 NIV, it says, I have given them Your Word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one. 

God gave us free will. It is our choice. Do we believe the lies of the enemy and live forever wounded? Or do we live in God’s will and follow Him out of our darkness into the light? God makes it as simple as a prayer, so why is it that we make surrendering all to God so daunting a task? Fear! It sounds perverse, but some would rather suffer in the world they know than step outside their comfort zone into the unknown. What if I told you, you don’t have to walk alone into the unknown, blind to what the future holds for you? It’s true! You’re not alone in your suffering—God is right beside you. When we hurt, He hurts. When we suffer, He suffers. Learning to surrender all things to God is our escape, our way out of all the suffering.      

Suffering has several sides, only one of which is that we live in a fallen world. Some believe God is trying to teach them a lesson in all the pain and suffering. In some cases, that might be true; however, we are victims of suffering most of the time because of our poor choices. The lesson happens when we learn to let God work through and give us the wisdom to make the right choices. Then some mistakenly believe that the more they suffer, the more they will have paid for their sins. 

What about Christ? Nothing is more arrogant than discounting what Jesus did for us on the cross! He has already suffered for your sins so that you can live freely. Will you deny Him that gift? God doesn’t need your sacrifices. He wants your loving obedience! In 1 Samuel 15:22-23 NIV, Samuel says, But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Decide today to stop being the victim and start being victorious.

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