Why God, why all that misery?
For many, one of the most difficult questions to believe in God and Jesus is this: ‘Suppose God exists, why is there still so much misery? Or, “all that misery, how can you believe in a good God?”
The above questions are of all times. I can still remember an intense fragment of comedian Hans Teeuwen.
‘Yes, God, I want to know. All that pain, suffering, hunger, misery, diseases, disasters, child abuse, torture, rape, cancer and the holocaust – why God? Why? And then he says: Well, because of sister and such, this and this and that. And I say that: Aha! Yes indeed. Yes, yes, yes. Of course … No, now I get it ‘.
Recognizable questions? Probably. For many, the holocaust is a reason not to believe in goodness and God anymore. Auschwitz marked the end of faith in God for the well-known Jew Elie Wiesel. And Zvi Kolitz, a Jew who saw his wife and six children killed during the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto, wrote a letter to God just before he died. In it he writes: “Then I want to ask you, God, and that question burns like a consuming fire in me:” What, oh what still needs to happen before you show your face to the world again? ”
BELIEVE AFTER THE HOLOCAUST
The striking thing about this story is that research among Holocaust survivors shows that only 11 percent started calling themselves atheists. And many were not “real” atheists. They turned out to be angry with God, which can be explained by the horrors they had to endure. But anger does not yet assume ‘adieu God’. At the same time, 5 percent of the survivors came to faith! Apparently we can draw a cautious conclusion from this story that whoever suffers himself rarely leaves God.
But is the holocaust and its disasters and illness the fault of God? And does this prove God’s absence in the world?
GOD is not Santa Claus
We often think that ” if God is not what we want him to be, then he cannot be there … ” But God is not a Santa Claus who fills everyone with gifts. He is also not a dictator. God does not deprive us of all our independence. He gives us freedom of choice. Otherwise we would have become robots with God at the controls. God did not choose to solve the major world problems one-two-three.
God has given this world to people. Man has a choice between good and evil. Because without choice, no freedom. God is responsible for the gift of freedom. Man is responsible for what he does with this freedom. To blame God for so many world problems is to give ourselves a license to misbehave us. We can blame God for hunger in Africa, but why don’t we as humanity manage to distribute more than enough food fairly?
JESUS KNOWS WHAT SUFFERING IS
If anyone knows what suffering is, then it is God. He did not remain absent-minded as the world broke down. He sent his son Jesus into the world.
Born in poverty with a teenage mother. Beaten. Lost his father at a young age. His brothers declared Him crazy and his best friends abandoned Him. Jesus became the victim of a conspiracy and unfair justice. He was sold, beaten, tortured, and nails pierced his hands on a wooden cross. But luckily this is not the end of the story. Jesus rose from the dead and so He dealt with all the misery we can experience as human beings. Jesus could not sink deeper than death.
It seems that God’s “answer” to our suffering is not to put an end to all suffering. He chooses a different way. He exposes himself to suffering in order to be so close.
GOD IS BESIDE US
Why is there suffering? I’m not going to answer the why. I simply can’t do it. Nor do I think that if the answer existed, such an answer will help you further. As if you would say, just like Hans Teeuwen, “ah, now I understand, thank you .” What I do believe is that when you suffer, God is next to you. He knows what you are talking about. God is not only there at our best and most beautiful moments. God is also there when our life is at its worst. It is then that he is standing next to us.
SHOUT OUT TO HEAVEN
Have you ever put your questions, pain, sorrow and suffering before God? Give it a try. Shout out to heaven. Cry. Be angry and ask questions. God knows suffering like no other!