When we see someone we care about suffering with life or an illness, or if we are feeling like everything is going wrong in our own life, it can make us question why!? Why is everything going wrong? If you believe there is a God, you might find yourself asking, “Why has God let me down” or “Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?”

For many centuries people have been trying to understand why does a loving God allow suffering – why doesn’t God stop all suffering and evil and hard times that people have to go through. Many people struggle with these questions – men, women, young, old, married, unmarried, those who follow Jesus and those who don’t – there isn’t anything that guarantees we won’t suffer and struggle to keep going.

It would be great to chat with you about things that will help you to feel more full of hope and purpose, and to pray for you if that is something you would like.

We need to remember that we are all more than just a physical body, we also have feelings, emotions and a spiritual side to us. We really need to think about how struggles and suffering effect the whole of us and not just our physical bodies. Here are some suggestions people have found helpful…

Does evil and suffering prove God doesn’t exist? 

The fact that evil and suffering exist in the world doesn’t mean that a loving God can’t be real – the same logic used the other way around would say that if there is any goodness in the world then a loving God must exist. What we can see is that God normally allows natural consequences to happen – e.g. if someone nearby decided to be nasty and cruel to us, God doesn’t just jump in to the situation and cause their mouth to close and force their hands behind their back! When someone chooses to act in a sinful way people around them experience the consequences of that, and often there is also a ripple effect with others around them being effected too. If God was to get rid of everyone in the world that ever did anything wrong, he would have to get rid of us all! If God was to allow all actions to have no consequences then people would do all manner of bad things to each other.

Don’t give up

Struggles and suffering often come to an end, some go on a very long time, some stay with us until we die – but for the majority of people there is a time when we reach the other side and get a chance to look back at this time of struggle and suffering.

How? Where? When?

Are you aware of your struggle and suffering more at certain times of day, or on particular days of the week? or is there a time of the year when you find you feel much worse? Noticing when the toughest times are can be helpful because it shows us when we need to try and put things in place that are more likely to ease our discomfort or encourage us or distract us. It also helps us to know when to try and do new things and when we are most likely to be able to feel more pleasure and less suffering.

Think about the spiritual you

Do you believe there is a God? Have you ever spent time trying to learn about who Jesus is, what he did and why he did it?

When people believe that Jesus loves them and is interested in them it gives them a bigger picture of the world around them and of what life is all about. Church can be a great place to meet people and find caring friendship – particularly if the church meets midweek in small groups in people’s homes – it is there that you will become a person rather than one of a crowd, it is there where you will feel loved and listened to and appreciated. The more you get to know Jesus the more you will know and understand how much he cares about you and what is happening in your life – Find out about Jesus.

Why aren’t my prayers answered?

Many times people misunderstand what God is like and what life is about. Firstly we need to understand that God is not a magic genie that has to give us what we ask for, and secondly we need to remember that this life, here on earth, is not the main thing – this is a preparation time for the real life that comes later – life on earth is like the trailer to the film that comes after death. Yes, we should continue to pray, but prayer should really come out of a friendship between you and Jesus – not as a shopping list of demands and expectations. If we get to know God, by choosing to follow Jesus, then we begin to see and understand things from his perspective and we will start to trust him more and realise that he is actually helping us and maturing us through the struggle. God wants us to present our requests to him, to pray to him and tell him what we would like, but he then wants us to trust him – that he can see the bigger picture and always has a purpose in what he allows to continue and what he brings to an end, because God is all wise and knows everything.

The Bible is full of people who went through hard times

Some people think that if there is a loving God nobody should have a hard time, but even in God’s own book (the Bible) we see many examples of people who followed him and worshipped him going through hard times. People who follow Jesus don’t do so to have an easy life, they don’t believe in Him because he will get rid of their struggles – in fact many Christians have a harder time once they choose to follow Jesus, because many people around them don’t like their beliefs.