Years ago, I took one of our children to the doctor for a regular vaccination shot to prevent some childhood disease. I did this because, as a parent, I care about and love my children. Yet the eyes of a small child will see things very differently. When the doctor inserted the needle into my little girl’s arm, I could immediately see her lower lip quiver. A cry and a howl of pain quickly followed. My heart was crushed as she looked up at me with those tearful innocent eyes, in the most pleading and pitiful way, as if to say, “Look at the horrible thing that’s happening to me! Don’t you care about my terrible suffering? How can you just stand there and allow this to go on? Don’t you love me?”
As a parent, however, I know better. I know that, for her, everything is going to be all right in a very short time (even though it had an emotional impact on me to see my child’s distress). Minor, brief pain is the price my child will pay for a healthier life later.
Just as my daughter could not possibly understand the motives of her father (for she is still only a child), so, too, can we not completely comprehend God’s will for us while we are on earth. It’s a matter of perspective: the brief few years of a physical human lifetime, (Psalm 90:9-10) versus eternity—time without end.
God is our ultimate parent. He knows all about the problems we often have, but He also knows that our experiences with pain and suffering, along with all of the good experiences that we may have, will, among other things, help to make us more understanding and compassionate. As strange as this may seem, these are the necessary qualities for those who desire to be more like Jesus, “Who Himself suffered and bore our sin and died so that we might live for righteousness; for by His wounds we are healed” (1 Peter 2:23-25).
Could God eliminate pain and suffering in our lives? In this world? Yes, but He is not obligated to do so. We often have the mentality that because He can and because He is God, He must! Instead, let’s remember that, like a loving Father, God does care. He knows when humans suffer. But let’s also remember that God isn’t a mere human. He is God. His perspective is infinitely greater than ours. He sees the “bigger picture”— that our experiences as mortal humans, however painful or unhappy, will be to our eventual benefit. Make no mistake. The good and loving Creator would not allow such things to happen otherwise.