Crosspoint Church | Georgetown, TX

Can a loving God allow suffering?

This week’s devotions are based on the Week 3 “Explore God” – Why does God allow pain and suffering? (WATCH HERE)

How can a loving God allow suffering?

In the message on Sunday, the second point was this: Suffering and pain challenge our perception of God, but it does not change the nature of God.

How do we reconcile God, who is loving with suffering which is no fun.

Does God’s nature of love prevent every type of suffering one may encounter?

For those of you who are parents, let me ask this, “Do you ever knowingly allow your children to suffer?”  Or maybe put it another way, “Do you ever knowingly allow your children to go through something THEY perceive as suffering, but you know is for their benefit?”

If a child goes through a period of suffering, might they blame their parents for allowing it?

Does a child going through a period of suffering change the love the parents have for them?

Often, when I try to sort out the way God deals with me, I consider how I as a parent deal with my children.  The analogy is not always perfect, but it can help.

Here’s a few scenarios.

As a parent, you warn your child not to hang out with those who are drinking and doing drugs.  You child makes a choice to do that and they are arrested.  You don’t bail them out but allow them to serve the time in jail.  They accuse you of not loving them. Their perception does not change the reality.  Your love led you to warn them of the dangers of hanging out with the wrong crowd.  Your love allowed them to suffer the consequence of their sin (see yesterday’s devotion) so that, you would pray, they would never make that same choice again and thus avoid future suffering as a result.  Love drives a parent to do what is best, not what is easiest for the child.

Your child is failing a chemistry class.  The reason isn’t necessarily because they are not able to pass, but they are not putting in the time to pass the class.  Again, you encourage them to do their homework, you offer to get help or tutoring, but they refuse.  When the semester grade comes out and they have failed and are being asked to take the class over again, they want you to step in and talk to the teacher and get them a passing grade.  You refuse.  They accuse you of not loving them, not wanting them to succeed, etc.  Their perception of you changes, but the essence of your love for them hasn’t.

Parental choices that choose to allow a child to go through a season of suffering are tough.  We want to “save” them from any challenge.  However, you as a parent know that there are times where a child has to address a situation or deal with a situation on their own and at times suffer the natural consequences to prevent the same thing from happening in the future.

Is it possible God carries a similar approach to his love?  Yes.  What he allows is always the perfect thing we need.  Sometimes our perception may be negative about God’s motives, but our perception does not change the heart of God who loves us as children and allows just what we need to grow and develop as a child of God.

Hebrews 12:5-7 “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 

Sometimes what we perceive as suffering is the Lord allowing it to happen, not to question his love for us, but to realize he loves us enough to draw us closer to himself.


Apply: What suffering in your life have you been able to see the hand of a loving God behind?

Prayer: Lord, thank you for not just doing what I want, but always doing and allowing what you know is best for me.  AMEN.

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