Ever since Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden, man has suffered. The sentence of death involved the whole dying process including pain in childbirth, and heavy labor to provide food and life’s necessities. All people have experienced death and suffering. Even Jesus, God’s beloved son, endured suffering.
If God in His infinite wisdom allowed Jesus to suffer, should we as his followers expect anything different? Peter wrote, “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in his steps,” 1 Peter 2:21. The apostle Paul explained, “if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him,” Romans 8:17.
And yet, man has also enjoyed many blessings. Jesus told us “God causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous,” Matthew 5:45. Additionally, God blesses Christians “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly in Christ,” Ephesians 1:3. We all receive a multitude of blessings. God, as a good father, loves to bless his children. But a good parent also disciplines his child for the child’s benefit.
What is the benefit of suffering? Trials and suffering develop character. “Although he (Jesus) was a son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered,” Hebrews 5:8. Likewise, Christians learn obedience and develop a Christ-like character through suffering.
Soon our experience with sin and evil will come to an end. Mankind is learning to appreciate that disobeying God’s will always brings sorrow and pain. During Christ’s reign and mankind’s resurrection on earth, mankind will remember these experiences and most people will gladly choose righteousness.
God is permitting sin and suffering as a preparation for a time when “the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away,” Revelation 21:3-4.
Jesus looked forward to God’s kingdom. It was this focus which strengthened him to endure all things. Hebrews 12:2, “who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God.”
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus and develop the mature attitude of the apostle Paul. 2 Corinthians 4:17, “For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.”
For a more comprehensive study on the permission of evil, please download the free PDF: "Why God Permits Evil"