If your a sucker for repetition, look into a video or online story about a great tragedy in which either the author, or a commenter, thanks God for the salvation of the people involved.
If the article is broadly popular soon after you will see comments like, “If God is so good for saving this one person, why did he let the others die?” Or, “If God is loving and all powerful why did he let this tragedy happen in the first place?”
Rather than being genuine curiosities, these comments are sucker punches directed at the weak stomach of a suffering soul.
This ridicule is lacking in a proper understanding of human life. Those who wield them fail to fully include all elements of their own argument.
If God exists and is all loving and all powerful, as we Christians claim, then the reality of the soul is a fact. If the soul does exist then eternal life is a question of real importance. Thus, if God truly loves us, which we believe, then His chief concern is our eternal life, above all else.
That means that freedom from suffering and death are part, but not all of, the life of the soul, which is eternal by nature.
This very reality was exemplified by the God we believe in.
Not only does he treat us as a parent lovingly treats a child, but He went one step further and lived out suffering as we must.
Christ is the living example of pure goodness, pure love. What did He receive for being the unblemished lamb? Death, brutal death, at the hands of the Sanhedrin and the Romans. Where was our supposedly good God then?
For Christians the crucifixion is not the end of the story, but the beginning:
This saga calls us to a greater intimacy, a greater understanding of this mysterious and often ridiculed God.
To heal only our physical sufferings but to pay no attention to our spiritual maladies is akin to curing the symptoms of serious disease but ignoring the disease itself. It may feel better for a time, but in the end the patient is far worse off.
Thus, forgiveness trumps relief from suffering every time.
Forgiveness brings intimacy and relationship. It brings the possibility of reunion which, since God is who we claim He is, is the most important aspect of every human being’s life.
Christ endured more suffering then can be imagined.
He was the only person who actually had no guilt, who actually deserved no punishment, let alone capital punishment.
He endured this suffering because there is something greater then relief from pain.
He endured this suffering so we might know freedom from the deepest pains of the human heart, those which are indescribable, and far worse than any external tragedy could bring.
Most parents, whether they are religious or not, understand the importance of attending to the greatest good. Parents will deny their children what they want, causing suffering to their children temporarily, knowing that a spoiled child will suffer tremendously in the future, something far worse then this mild discomfort that is occurring in this moment.
We all know that a parent who caves in too often will spoil the child, and this is not love. It is a form of selfishness because the parent caters to their own anxiety and not to the needs of the child.
If God merely relieved us from every physical discomfort, it would actually spoil us into decadence while our spiritual life careened out of control. It would cast into jeopardy the most valuable treasure any human has: relationship with Him. Because God exists, death is not nearly as final as it would seem. It means that death is a transition and not an ending, which means that our human understanding of what death is, is incomplete.
Though it can be unbearable as we remember those we’ve lost, those who die are not lost to us. If God would allow any human person to die in a world where death is final, He would be a lie.
But if death is only the gate through which we enter into His presence, then who’s to say death is ultimately bad?
Any person who attempts to undermine the belief of another with the argument “If God is… , then why does this happen,” would be wise to consider fully just what life with God means. There comes a time in every believers life when this very question arises, and it is an important question to flesh out. When it is born through a genuine hunger for understanding, amazing beauty comes from this query.
When it is wielded as an assault on the beliefs of others, or as an idle thought in an otherwise unconcerned mind, it serves no purpose.
As a good parent hates to see their child suffer, but may allow it for the good of that very child, so we may rest assured that God only ever allows suffering if it is for the greatest good of our own our hearts and souls.