Many people, when faced with pain and suffering, are tempted to become bitter - even angry - at God. Yet according to the Bible, the only reasonable response to life's adversities is to increasingly put one's faith in God.
Why is this the case? Dealing with suffering begins with recognizing its root cause. The Bible outlines three primary causes for pain, and each of them should lead us to a greater trust for, obedience to, and love for our Creator.
Cause #1 - The choices of human beings. When we are faced with suffering because of our wrong choices, or the wrong choices of others around us, we can begin to recognize that the best way to live is God's way. When we seek to do our own thing, or to disobey His laws, we create pain and suffering in our own lives and in those around us. (2 Samuel 22:31, Titus 3:3-8)
Response: I will commit myself to obeying God, because I know that His way is perfect for my life. I will make my decisions on the basis of His Word, and encourage others to do the same.
Cause #2 - The consequences of a fallen world. Obviously, living in a world that Paul said was "in bondage to decay" comes with some serious consequences. Death was not an original feature of God's creation - it was introduced as a result of human rebellion. Thus, anytime we hear of a tragedy, we again are faced with the fact that the Creator knew what was best all along, and that the best course for life is to follow Him. We also can take heart in the fact that God is in the process of re-making creation, beginning with humanity, into a new, eternal world that will be free from suffering and pain. (Romans 8:18-21)
Response: I will surrender myself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and seek to live the way He lived. I will do this in expectant hope that one day, there will be an end to evil and suffering.
Cause #3 - The circumstances that God wants to use to for His own good purposes. On occasion, God may allow or even bring about a difficult situation for reasons not fully revealed. It is in these moments that we must trust the character of God - that our Creator knows what is best in every situation, and that He can work all things to the good of those who love Him. (Psalm 145:8-9, Romans 5:1-5)
Response: I will trust in God, believing His promise that He loves me and wants the best for my life. He wants to shape me into the person I was created to be, and so I will have faith in Him, even though I don't have all the answers.
Challenge: Read and pray over each of the above mentioned Scripture passages.