This passage follows a text where Paul speaks about all he had gained according to the flesh, being a Hebrew and a Pharisee. Who hasn’t asked this big question: “Why does God permit pain and suffering when God could easily end pain and suffering?”. He obviously does not. You said God (if He exists) could have created only those people that would not cause suffering, namely sin. Suffering is the result of mankind’s sin and rebellion against God (Genesis 3). Best. Of course, no one wants or enjoys suffering and hardship. Brian is currently authoring the regular series, "Catechesis and Contemporary Culture," in The Sower, published by the Maryvale Institute and is also in the process of writing the Philosophy of Religion course book for the B.A. Maybe in 1978, I couldn’t see the wisdom of a loving God providing me with a wise mom’s advice to get over myself. Furthermore, it is in our weakness and suffering that we grow in humility and cannot pride ourselves in our accomplishments. Turn Suffering into Holiness. And he could end all sin and suffering simply by allowing the universe to cease to exist. God gave us … God allows us to participate in his suffering. And yet these theological theories bring no peace while reading a newspaper filled with war, cruelty, desolation. I had to hold tissues to my face when the sores seeped guck. Through his suffering, Paul sees himself as participating in the Passion of Christ. In about four years, the abrasions healed and faded, just in time for job interviews. He is not the cosmic sadist. “Because God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. & Lay Apostolate for the Diocese of Duluth. Who hasn’t asked this big question: “Why does God permit pain and suffering when God could easily end pain and suffering?” Theological explanations include the … Why does God allow pain and suffering? Enter your email address to receive free newsletters from NCR. Theological explanations include the concept of original sin, Jesus dying on the cross for our sins and free will. Working in the Oncology field has opened my eyes to this even more so. Fortunately, I attended a private women’s Catholic college. The question is often asked: “If God is all-powerful and all-good, why does He allow suffering?” For some, this is not just an abstract logical conundrum, but a deeply personal cry of despair, welling up from intense personal pain. Suffering is his way of “becoming like him (Christ) in his death” so that he “may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11). My suspicion is that the best answer to this question is that your god probably doesn't exist. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Advice. Friends administered cold creams, moisturizers, baby oil, even Vaseline on the burns. Paul understands that the suffering he endures serves as a way to be like Christ, as well as it being for Christ’s sake. The trolley ride was pleasant enough, but the continual oozing, pus-filled facial sores made passengers stare. My biggest mistake confused spirituality and religion. I sucked it up — and continued to pray for a miracle. Suffering is a participation in the mystery of Christ and is the way Paul can become like Christ. No, I don’t have a big answer to the big question. In this column we will consider Paul’s inward focus, the way in which he sees himself, through his suffering, as participating in salvation, especially the Passion, death, and resurrection of Christ. He says: “And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. He says, “But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.” (Philippians 1:24) Also, to die is gain because if he were to die he would share in the resurrection of Christ. The more sin abounds, the more suffering abounds. Paul reveals to us the paradox of the cross. One can be religious without an ounce of spirituality. Why Does God Allow So Much Suffering in the World? Through that participation God allows us to participate in the economy of salvation and the flow of grace to all who suffer. We never ask that question about the pain and suffering of a life term sentence for someone who has committed murder — because, we understand it was a consequence of their actions, and we reason that they deserve it as a result of what they did. It took me a long time to realize what that means. When the question is raised, “why does God allow pain and suffering?” it’s usually because we feel pain and suffering is unjust. St. Paul explains the meaning of suffering. Yes, it’s as disgusting as it sounds. Posted by cathbread On October 24, 2018 In COMMENTS No comments I want to answer the question partly from a scientific point of view, but the rest will have philosophical or religious underpinnings. My husband has an issue with why God allows illness, pain, suffering especially children who are born mentally or physically handicapped. Even if suffering is not inherently good, it can produce good if we endure it, allow it to purify us, and make it into a sacrifice. Pope Francis wrote quite eloquently about this matter in Lumen Fidei, paragraph 57, when he reminds us that God provides us with an “accompaniment” through our times of pain and suffering. The number one lie that Christians are often confronted with is the argument that evil, pain, and suffering prove that there is no God, said author and apologist Mark Mittelberg. Surely in 1978, God gifted me with the grace to transcend a painful experience and evolve into a more compassionate person. Pity wouldn’t do any good. We can read in Isaiah 48:10 that “I have refined you, though not as silver; I have … Christ lives in him when he is “crucified with Christ.” John Paul II notes that “Christ also becomes in a particular way united to the man, Paul, through the cross” (SD, 20). He gains righteousness not through his own power but through Christ’s. For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (1:19-21). Pain, serious illness, disability, abject poverty and failure all readily come to mind as things that God allows us to endure - … I spent my college years in the library completing work-study hours and at weekly dermatologist visits. We also wonder in these dark times how God relates to human pain, injury, violence and involuntary suffering. One can also be spiritual without much religion. Paul says: “Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Read these Top 9 Bible Verses-Why Does God Allow Suffering? For Paul to live is gain because while he suffers in this life he is imitating Christ and becoming more Christ-like. This is also why Paul can say elsewhere in Galatians: “Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world…Henceforth let no man trouble me, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus” (6:14, 17). Nor does the light of faith make us forget the sufferings of this world. My pain, upon reflection, became my biggest opportunity for growth. The next morning, I woke up bloated, blistered, nauseous and weak. Summers between semesters were spent working as a file clerk in center city. For he fashioned all things that they might have being” -Wisdom 1:13-14. How many men and women of faith have found mediators of light in those who suffer! To be crucified usually means death, but for Paul it means Christ living in him. Pray to God for strength to endure this cross.”. This tract tackles a very sincere and tough question, one that’s been called the skeptics’ “silver bullet.” If God is loving and all-powerful and could end suffering, disease, and death, why hasn’t He? He is also a faculty member of the Theology and Philosophy departments of the Maryvale Institute, Birmingham, England. As I rushed out of the office, sobbing, Mom promised me, “We’ll get this fixed.” Sure enough, she did her research and found a well-regarded dermatologist at a teaching hospital. If God really is our Abba-Father, our “loving Daddy,” how can God allow his children to starve, to be abused, to suffer from terminal illnesses? Regardless of when or why the question of pain and suffering is posed, one can propose that it is a problem primarily in the Christian worldview. I embraced the spiritual foundation program, enmeshed in continual prayer: prayers of petition (“Please, fix my face!”), prayers of bargaining (“If you fix my face, I’ll spend the rest of my life doing good works!”), prayers of pity (“God, you are not listening to me.”). Day one, I lay 12 hours on the hot, burning sand and returned to the hotel feeling sick. Now you ask, why does God allow pain, suffering, and failure in our lives? If God is the benevolent creator and sustainer of life depicted in Christian tradition, then he should be able and willing to eliminate our pain and suffering. When it comes to emotional suffering, many Christians wonder about mental illness. Many, many, many mornings, when the sores were especially active, I just wanted hide in my room. Jesus’ death for us shows just how much He cares and understands. Mankind chose to … Why Does God Allow Suffering? 2021 EWTN lineup will see new arrivals, some departures. The following four years, every Saturday, week after week, Mom and I would visit the dermatologist’s. Understandably, people were concerned about the spread of infection. God understands our pain. A 20-year-old’s depth of prayer for a miracle, while self-serving and myopic, is still a testament of belief in God. Perhaps non-believers recognize that they would need to change, radically, if Christianity turned out to be true. Sometimes God allows His people to endure much for the sake of fortitude, even as we call upon Him for help and sustenance. The small environment, daily visits to chapel and a spiritual director provided comfort. Then I remind myself that I was young. EarthBeat Weekly: Environmental justice, action, spirituality among top themes for 2021, In compelling 'Hillbilly Elegy,' Adams, Close give strong performances, Cross-shaped solar array lights up Mundelein Seminary for New Year, Glimpse of the divine — or wishful thinking? What is acedia, how do you pronounce it, and why does this priest tweet about it? In suffering, when united to Christ, death now means life. In about two months, my face exploded with six to seven large red welts — just in time for freshman year at college. I had joined fellow high school graduates for the traditional senior week at the Jersey Shore — what’s not to love about that? Instead, He forewarned the man and allowed him to decide for himself. ], Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor. Pain, suffering and death are integral parts of the material world due to Adam's sin, but Christianity offers hope through the suffering of Jesus Christ. Each of us knows firsthand what it means to suffer as a result of … The presence of evil and suffering in the universe is certainly consistent with there not being an omnipotent, omniscience, and omnibenevolent god. Ever. God could have prevented all sin and suffering by not creating the universe. If he forced their choice, it wouldn’t be free. But I sincerely thank God for answering my prayers in an unexpected way 40 years ago. This is why he says in 1 Corinthians: “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1:18). So whether he lives and suffers, leading to the resurrection for himself and others, or dies and shares in the resurrection himself alone, he will be united to Christ and be an example for all. They are, however, an inevitable part of our temporal life on earth. However, he now considers this gain to be loss and refuse, compared to gaining Christ through his sufferings. Jesus’ passion and death also gave meaning to suffering. Paradox of the world for achieving new heights in our personal and spiritual lives gave …... Daily visits to chapel and a spiritual Director provided comfort grow in and. The burns the elementary level he suffers in this life he is a... 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