A little boy was playing in his parents’ driveway when his father backed out of the garage and ran over him. Miraculously, he was uninjured. There was great rejoicing and people spoke of his guardian angel intervening. Three weeks later, he was walking with his mother down the street when a car mounted the pavement, and he was crushed to death.
A young mother who had two small children lay dying of cancer in a hospital bed. Many people prayed for her recovery. In the next bed an elderly lady of eighty-five lay wracked with sickness. She begged God to take her home to Him. Two days later, the mother died; the old lady lingered on for another six months.
The tsunami struck without warning and 250 000 people perished and many more were cosigned to misery.
The hurricane Katrina destroyed the city of New Orleans, and smashed is people.
The earthquake in Pakistan killed 70 000 people and sentenced a similar number to slow death by hunger and cold.
The Nazis exterminated Six million people in vile ways.
Why does God allow this suffering, especially were the young and the innocent are involved? Was Shakespeare right when he wrote,”
"As flies to wanton boys, are we to th’gods, They kill us for their sport”?
There has never been a satisfactory answer given by theologians and philosophers to the problem of suffering. There are three answers that are totally unsatisfactory. The first is that of the unctuous clergyman who tells grieving parents who have lost their young child after a painful and tormenting illness,” It is God’s will” I am a peaceful and timid person but, if I were given comfort like that< I would be inclined to punch the mealy-mouthed speaker in the mouth.
Sickness is NEVER God’s will. Jesus did not tell sick people,” It is God’s will!” he healed them.
The second is,” This a punishment from God!” I have actually heard evangelists tell people that their cancer is god’s punishment on them for their sinful lives.
The third is,” These things show that God is planning to destroy humanity because of the sinful behaviour of humanity.” This line has been peddled since Jesus ascended into Heaven. There was some excuse for St Paul and the other writers getting this wrong, as they sincerely Jesus was returning very soon. For people to believe that this present Age is more evil or immoral than previous ones, and that God will certainly act soon, is not only naive but also arrogant.
So how does one reconcile human suffering with our belief in a loving God? A rabbi who was in a death camp and saw the horrors inflicted on the prisoners cried out,” Where is God? God is dead!” For many, the sufferings of humanity are incompatible with the idea of a loving and compassionate God.