God will eventually end all suffering and evil
People ask, “Why doesn’t God just stop all evil now?” Just because He hasn’t doesn’t mean He won’t. Criticizing God for not doing it now is like renting the first two DVDs of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and becoming angry at JR Tolkein for not bringing all loose ends together and dealing with the overwhelming evil. You have to rent the last movie! In part three Tolkein does deal with evil, just like God is going to. Read the book of Revelations and you will see how God will eventually end evil.
God promises the day is coming when He will judge all evil. In Colorado people are saying the killer of Joan Boniot Ramsey got away with murder. No they haven’t! God is going to judge those who are responsible. They will pay for their horrible crime.
Why hasn’t God come back in judgment? It is because God wants more to know Him. Peter writes in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” God is not slow in keeping his promise to return. If He came back today many would be shut out of heaven. His slowness is an expression of His incredible love for those who don’t know Him. God wants more people to seek His forgiveness before He puts an end to all suffering and evil.
God will more than compensate us in eternity
As I have moved through these points I hope I have not minimized the impact of suffering. Many of you reading this post have likely suffered more than I have. You could ask me, who are you to talk about suffering? Yet, there is one who can talk about the pain of suffering with incredible authority; the Apostle Paul. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:17, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
What were Paul’s light and momentary troubles he was referring to? He was whipped 5 different occasions receiving 39 lashes each time. The whip they used had straps lined with metal balls to insure they broke the skin and damaged the muscles and bone. He was beaten 3 times with rods, ship wrecked multiple times, and stoned and left for dead by an angry mob. And yet Paul calls all these trials light and momentary troubles. How does Paul do it? Why doesn’t he just give up and turn his back on God for not protecting him. He doesn’t turn from God because he knows the eternal glory awaiting him far outweighs all the whippings, stoning, beatings, shipwrecks, and even his eventual death. Paul had an eternal focus. He wanted us to have one too.
One Christian woman after suffering more than her share of pain said this, “In light of heaven the worst suffering on earth, a life full of the most atrocious tortures on this planet; in light of heaven will be seen to be no more serious than one night in an inconvenient hotel.” That is the perspective I hope to have.
A British pastor tells of a young man who at age one fell down a flight of stairs shattering his back. He had been in pain his whole life. Now as an adult he told the British pastor that God is fair. This took the pastor by surprise and he asked him how old he was and how many years he spent in the hospital. The young man said he was 17 and had spent 13 years in the hospital. The pastor said, “In light of all that, how can you possibly say God is fair?” The young man responded, “God has all eternity to make it up to me.” God will make it to all who have trusted in His Son Jesus Christ. Our task is not to focus on our hurts but to keep our eyes on the eternal glory that awaits us. God will make it up.
So what answers can we draw comfort from and maybe share with others. From the Bible we know that…
1. God did not create evil and suffering – We are the authors of pain and suffering not God.
2. God can use suffering to accomplish good – Remember it is not the pain that is good but what God can do with it.
3. God will eventually end all suffering and evil – We can trust what God has told us in the book of Revelations, that He will end pain and suffering. He is waiting patiently for more people to seek forgiveness in His Son Jesus Christ.
4. God will more than compensate us in eternity – Heaven holds for us unspeakable pleasure and joy as we worship God for all eternity.
In part 8 I will give a final way God will deal with pain and suffering.