Understanding suffering/bad times?

I could use some help in trying to better understand and explain suffering to a non christian friend. Why seemingly good people experience this? I just can’t seem to find the right words when talking with him and worse yet he turns the tables on me by using my own situation (I have been experiencing some business difficulties) citing my devotion to God and involvment with the church and yet I still encounter difficulties?

Can anyone suggest where I might find some reading sources on the subject?

Don’t confuse misfortune with evil.
Sometimes the sun shines and sometimes it rains
That is the way the world works.

This isn’t voodoo. You don’t believe in God because of anything you might get from it. You believe because it is the right thing to do.

Is your friend suggesting that Belief in God should somehow help you business?

It is supposed to help your soul.

Suffering can purify your soul. God either wills directly or allows everything that happens to us for our own good. Sometimes patience through tribulations make us better in the long run. However, I think this concept is becoming more and more foreign to the fast-food, instant entertainment cultures. Bread and circuses are the only thing many know…

Suffering is universal. So, we can deduce that it must be a necessary consequence of life and free will.
There is no easy way to understand it from a human perspective, but, like a good boss who doesn’t make his people do anything he wouldn’t do himself, Christ submitted to that pain and death in an act of humble acceptance and solidarity with his own creation.

John 16:33
These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you shall have distress: but have confidence, I have overcome the world.

I recommend:

peterkreeft.com/audio/07_suffering.htm (audio)
peterkreeft.com/audio/26_dark-side.htm (audio)

CS Lewis: The Problem of Pain (book)
CS Lewis: A Grief Observed (book)

  • CB

In the Bible, the Book of Job considers this issue. Suffering and bad times come in order to punish the wicked, that they might change their ways before it’s too late, and to test the just, that they might grow in virtue and merit a greater reward in the next life, if not also in this life.

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