Why Does the Hearer of Prayer Allow Suffering?
EVEN though they may pray, some people have doubts that God exists. Why do they doubt? Perhaps it is because they see so much suffering in this world. Have you ever wondered why God allows suffering?
Did God really make humans as they are now—imperfect and subject to suffering? We could hardly respect a god who would purpose for humans to suffer. But consider this: If you walked admiringly around a new car only to find that the far side was damaged, would you assume that the manufacturer made it that way? Of course not! You would conclude that the manufacturer made it “perfect” and that someone or something else caused the damage.
Similarly, when we admire the marvelous order and design in the natural world and then notice the chaos and corruption that blight the human family, what conclusion should we draw? The Bible teaches that God made the first human pair perfect but that later they caused themselves to become damaged. (Deuteronomy 32:4, 5) The good news is that God has promised to repair the damage—to restore obedient humans to perfection. Why, though, has he waited so long?
Why So Long?
The reason has to do with the question of who should rule mankind. Jehovah never intended that humans should rule themselves. He was to be their Ruler. The Bible itself says: “It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23) Sadly, the first humans chose to rebel against God’s rulership. Their lawless act made them sinners. (1 John 3:4) As a result, they lost their perfection and caused damage to themselves and their offspring.
For thousands of years, Jehovah has allowed humans to rule themselves, and history has demonstrated that humans do not have the ability to do so. It shows that all human governments cause suffering. Not one has ever eliminated war, crime, injustice, or disease.
How Will God Undo the Damage?
The Bible promises that God will soon bring about a righteous new world. (2 Peter 3:13) Only those who choose of their own free will to show love to one another and to God will be allowed to live in it.—Deuteronomy 30:15, 16, 19, 20.
The Bible also says that in “the day of judgment” that is fast approaching, God will eliminate suffering and those who cause it. (2 Peter 3:7) Thereafter, God’s appointed Ruler, Jesus Christ, will govern obedient humans. (Daniel 7:13, 14) What will Jesus’ rulership achieve? The Bible says: “The meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”—Psalm 37:11.
As heavenly King, Jesus will undo the damage—including sickness, aging, and death—that resulted when humans rebelled against Jehovah, “the source of life.” (Psalm 36:9) Jesus will cure all those who accept his loving rulership. Under his rule, these Bible promises will come true:
◼ “No resident will say: ‘I am sick.’ The people that are dwelling in the land will be those pardoned for their error.”—Isaiah 33:24.
◼ “[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.
Is it not comforting to know that soon God will fulfill his promise to end all suffering? Meanwhile, we need not lose confidence that he hears our prayers just because he presently allows suffering.
God is there. He can hear you, even your expressions of pain and sorrow. And he is eager to see you live to enjoy the time when all your doubts and pain will be gone.