Most people wonder why God permits mankind to suffer. The answer depends on the person asking the question.

Part 1: For the Christian

For those who have given their lives to follow Christ, the answer is beautiful! The book of James tells us to consider it all joy when we have these problems and trials. The reason being that these test our faith and help us to grow…even to the point of becoming complete, and lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4). James then goes on to explain how we can deal with these problems and gain the growth. We can ask God for wisdom, having faith that God will do as He promised (verses 5,6).

The apostle Paul also speaks about the value of trials, as he tells of his own trial in the flesh. He concludes by God’s words that His “power is made perfect in weakness,” and says that “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

How can this be? When we realize our own weakness and lean on God for strength, we see His work in our lives. If we did not have trials we would not realize God’s love and ever-present care for us. We would miss the fact that He is working everything together for our good (Romans 8:28). What a blessing to know there is a purpose for everything that happens, and that even the wrath of man will praise God. (Everything that will not work for good will be restrained, Psalms 76:10.)

Part 2: For the Majority of Mankind

God is not presently directing the lives of the unbelieving world. However, God planned mankind’s redemption through Jesus. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive,” 1 Corinthians 15:22. Every single person will come back in the resurrection and learn righteousness (Isaiah 26:9, 1 Timothy 2:4-6, Revelation 22:2).

During Christ’s just and loving 1,000 year reign on earth, mankind will remember the horrible results of sin. Then they will reason whether God’s way or sinful ways are better. Because of their previous problems and trials, most will think “been there, done that,” and will choose righteousness. Those who do not love God will die the second death from which there is no resurrection.

Then Revelation 21:4 will be fulfilled, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things have passed away.”