Why do The Innocent Suffer?
By Darrell Brazell
The question of why the innocent suffer goes all the way back to the ancient book of Job. The first verse declares Job an innocent man, yet he suffers horrifically. His three friends believe a form of Karma, “God gives what you deserve,” so they declare Job must have blown it or he wouldn’t be suffering.
Job argues with them and with God. The “friends” claim to defend God yet actually defend their preconceived beliefs. Job accuses God of being unjust, declaring that if he could plead his case before an unbiased judge, he would rule in his favor, finding God in the wrong.
Job aggressively questions God, demanding answers. He even tells God that He made a mistake when He let him take his first breath! Yet when God finally replies, Job is speechless. One glimpse of God silences him even though God doesn’t answer a single one of his questions.
To the friends God says, “You have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” What is the difference? The friends spoke about God, defending their preconceived beliefs. Job spoke directly to God, wrestling with suffering and God’s unexplainable nature.
Why do the innocent suffer? I couldn’t answer that by writing 300 books let alone 300 words. However, I am thankful God welcomes my questions. Thankful He isn’t angry with me for asking or even shouting “WHY?” In fact the ones with whom I see Him frustrated, are those who think they have the answers yet refuse to look honestly at the realities in front of them. Those who are afraid to look because looking requires questioning what they believe. There are no simple answers, but suffering provides an opportunity to know God when we wrestle with and talk to Him rather than about Him.
Darrell submitted the article above in response to the May 11, 2013 Lawrence Journal World Faith Forum question: "Why does God allow events that kill innocent people, like the recent Texas fertilizer plant explosion and the Boston bombings?" He explains more in his Embrace The Spiritual Journey message.
Job, Ecclesiastes & Song of Solomon
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