The next time someone asks you, “How could a God of love allow suffering?”, perhaps say something like this.
First, acknowledge that you see the suffering too and that you hate what you see, just like they do. There’s no sense in acting like there’s no trouble in the world that you live in. Christians should not come across as trouble free or blind to suffering. That’s a total misrepresentation.
Stay truthful about who God is. Admit that you believe both; that He is a loving God and that He does allow suffering. You’re not trying to prove that He doesn’t allow it, only that He is not indifferent towards it, that He desperately cares and that He’s done something about it.
This is where the gospel provides the answer. It may not solve the issue in their doubting minds immediately, but this is at least the right thing to say to start. It can lay a foundation for future conversations about bigger pictures that the Bible also addresses. It’s not always your job to sway the mind, but while the door is open, it is your job to speak the truth and keep the gospel at the center.
Tell them; “Yes, God allows suffering, but the reason I know God is not indifferent and that He has a reason for the suffering, is because God became a man in the person of Jesus Christ. He, by His own will, thrust Himself into a world of suffering in order that He might experience pain and anguish; in order that He might suffer and die for sinners like you and me.”
Take them to the personal Jesus you have come to know. Tell them that He understands suffering first hand. Take them to the cross.
It’s okay to admit your weakness in the matter too. But you must also reveal that the strength you have and the only resolve that a person will ever find is through faith in Christ.
God allows suffering, but He also made the only way for a suffering world and a suffering people to be forgiven of their sins and saved eternally. Through faith in Jesus we escape eternal suffering, which is the result of our sin. Suffering as a whole exists because of man’s disobedience, and we’re all guilty. But He is sovereign over it. The prospect of an eternity without suffering is what the Bible says makes the suffering we see now seem light and and momentary in comparison.
Of course, It’s not easy to see the reason behind all suffering in this world, but we can know that God did something about the greatest of all human need. And if there is silver lining (The salvation of wretched sinners like us) in a tragedy such as the brutal death of the spotless Son of God, is it possible that there is a silver lining in all tragedies, big or small, even if they are hard to see at first? Yes.
Note: This is not an exhaustive course on answering skeptics or those who want to call God evil for His allowances. I simply wanted to remind you, Christians, that the gospel provides a strong answer that we can all be equipped with. If hard questions often stump you and leave you speechless, be encouraged with this blog. “Be ready to give an answer for the reason for the hope that is in you.”