It’s a difficult question. Probably one of the hardest to answer. Why does God allow pain and suffering? The Curiosity Collective brings together thought leaders, authors, philosophers, and theologians to explore this difficult question.
My son has had severe epilepsy since he was born. For 15 years, he’d have 10 to 20 epileptic seizures every day, and, uh, our whole life was basically revolved around his disability, and yet I would pray for other friends who had sick children, and it seemed like their kids got better, um, but my son didn’t.
The one moment that redefined this question for me was probably in 2004 with the tsunami that happened in Asia, and just the sheer devastation of a natural disaster just brought me to my knees and where I was at the television saying, “God, seriously, why?”
The question, “How can God allow these bad things to happen?” I think is a, it’s a reality. It’s a hard, hard question, in fact maybe the hardest question.
God allows humankind to make their own choices, and ultimately they can lead to some magnificent things. I mean, you have a look at the extraordinary things— extraordinary things that human beings have been able to accomplish, uh, in the freedom and autonomy that God has given us. But the downside or the dark side of this autonomy or this freedom is that we can just create the vilest and contemptible and cruel and vicious outcomes of being human.
A lot of what we see in the world— in my opinion, of what I’ve experienced— is, you know, you have generations of men, you know, women, father, mother, children. When they make the choice not to love— love God, love each other— you play that out, and um, there, there’s a lot of pain that comes with that.
When I talk to people about the stuff they’ve gone through, I— to be honest, the for me, the best answer and the, the most appropriate response is— as a Christian, as a believer— is to cry too. To hold the hand and to weep too, and then to introduce them to someone who helps pull you out of a pit, and not in some weird, messed up, quick-fix kind of a way. I get really annoyed when we Christians propose it as an answer as, like, the quick, in a box, fix that changes everything. Um… But there’s a, there’s a phrase, I— it’s in one of the books of the Bible— which talks about— I… and it’s this, it says, “I know my Redeemer lives.” And, um, and that part of the Bible has always won me, because it talks about this person who buys back all that’s been lost, um, through your own helplessness, um, through violence, through your own foolishness. And, um, that’s who I met: someone who, who helped me over, over years and blood, sweat, and tears, um, bring back that— what was lost.