A Global Problem, a Global Solution
SUFFERING is seen everywhere, and many are those who respond to it compassionately. Medical personnel, for example, work long shifts in hospitals to help those who are ill or injured. Firefighters, police, lawmakers, and rescue personnel strive to alleviate or prevent the suffering of others. Such efforts do much to help people on a personal level, but it is beyond the reach of any individual or organization to eliminate suffering earth wide. In contrast, God can and will bring about a global solution.
Assurance is found in the last book of the Bible: “[God] will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4) Consider the scope of that promise. It summarizes God’s purpose to bring an end to all suffering. He will do that by ridding the earth of war, hunger, sickness, and injustice, along with all the wicked people. No human can accomplish that.
What God’s Kingdom Will Do
God will fulfill his promises through the second most powerful person in the universe—the resurrected Jesus Christ. The time is coming when Jesus will rule unopposed as King over the entire earth. Mankind will no longer be governed by human kings, presidents, or politicians. Instead, they will be ruled by one King and one government—the Kingdom of God.
That Kingdom will do away with every human government. Long ago, the Bible foretold: “The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.” (Daniel 2:44) Peoples of all the earth will be united under one righteous government—God’s Kingdom.
When he was on earth as a man, Jesus spoke on many occasions about that Kingdom. He referred to it in the model prayer, instructing his disciples to pray in this way: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matthew 6:10) Notice that Jesus indicated that the Kingdom is linked to God’s will being done on the earth, and it is God’s will to eliminate suffering earth wide.
God’s righteous government will bring blessings that no human government ever could. Recall that Jehovah gave his Son as a ransom so that humans might receive everlasting life. Under the benevolent rulership of the Kingdom, people will progress to perfection. The result? Jehovah “will actually swallow up death forever, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will certainly wipe the tears from all faces.”—Isaiah 25:8.
Some might ask: ‘Why has God not acted before now? What is he waiting for?’ Jehovah could have acted long ago to eliminate or even prevent all suffering. Instead, he has allowed it to continue, not for any selfish reason, but for the everlasting benefit of his children on earth. Loving parents will allow their child to undergo hardships if they know that this will bring long-term benefits. Similarly, there are good reasons why Jehovah has allowed humans to suffer temporarily, and these reasons are explained in the Bible. They involve such things as free will, sin, and an issue concerning the rightfulness of Jehovah’s rulership. The Bible also explains that, for a limited time, an evil spirit creature has been allowed to rule the world.*
Though space limits our discussing those reasons here, there are two facts that can give us hope and encouragement. The first is this: Jehovah will more than make up for any suffering we may have experienced. Moreover, God assures us: “The former things will not be called to mind, neither will they come up into the heart.” (Isaiah 65:17) God will undo, completely and permanently, the misery and suffering resulting from the temporary permission of evil.
The second fact is this: God has set an unalterable time to end suffering. Recall that the prophet Habakkuk asked how long Jehovah would permit violence and strife. Jehovah replied: “The vision is yet for the appointed time . . . It will not be late.” (Habakkuk 2:3) As we will see in the next article, that “appointed time” is near.
For a detailed discussion on the reasons why God permits suffering, see chapter 11 of the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
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Scriptures That Point to a Bright Future
NO MORE WARS:
“Come, you people, behold the activities of Jehovah, how he has set astonishing events on the earth. He is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth.”—Psalm 46:8, 9.
LOVED ONES RETURN:
“There is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.”—Acts 24:15.
FOOD FOR ALL:
“There will come to be plenty of grain on the earth; on the top of the mountains there will be an overflow.”—Psalm 72:16.
SICKNESS WILL BE NO MORE:
“No resident will say: ‘I am sick.’”—Isaiah 33:24.
WICKED PEOPLE WILL BE GONE:
“As regards the wicked, they will be cut off from the very earth; and as for the treacherous, they will be torn away from it.”—Proverbs 2:22.
JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL:
“Look! A king [Christ Jesus] will reign for righteousness itself; and as respects princes, they will rule as princes for justice itself.”—Isaiah 32:1.
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God’s Kingdom will remedy any suffering we may have experienced