IF GOD IS LOVING, WHY IS THERE SO MUCH PAIN IN THIS LIFE?

Pain is a unique opportunity for humanity to choose whether it will love God for who He is, rather than for the gifts that He bestows upon His creation. Granted, God loves to give to His children. God wants to be loved for who He is -- for His mercy, grace, kindness, compassion, and other attributes -- and not because He makes life easy for us.


ALSO: Finding God in ordinary things

At times, nature overwhelms us with its power. But natureís power pales in comparison with that of God, which is far greater than an earthquake, volcano, hurricane, or even a tsunami. Yet God does not strike us down or control us. Instead God gives us a free will and shares His power with us, saying that, if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we can move mountains.

We stand in awe of majestic mountains and glaciers without realizing how much greater Godís majesty is. Yet, like the father of the prodigal son, God bends His knee to lift us up Ė even when we are immersed in sin Ė and offers us forgiveness and welcomes us home. Photo at right from Images Philippines: "Grapes" in Lanao del Norte, by Samuel Peralta De Leon


If God is Loving, Why is There So Much Pain in This Life? By Connie Strasheim Guest Writer


Photo by Weapon Chest - Christian Ministry: Let us continue to pray fervently for the Filipino people who were greatly affected by one of the worst typhoons in the world. God bless Philippines!

MANILA, DECEMBER 2, 2013 (CBN.COM) No answer seems to completely satisfy when it comes to why God allows pain. Since the dawn of history, mankind has wrestled with this question, only to come up with answers that scarcely fill the soulís void.

While God grows our faith through pain, it is not His foremost reason for allowing us to hurt.

Paradoxically, love is the greater reason, and God will allow His creation to go through anything in the name of love. Anything at all. For God, love is a higher priority than comfort, enjoyment, and even happiness.

Pain was not part of Godís original design. Love, on the other hand, was. God knew that in order for love to exist, free will would also have to exist. In a world where He gave humans the choice to love or hate, He knew some would choose the latter and pain would inevitably be the price. But God chose to not take away His creationís humanity, even though He knew rape, murder, disease, and tragedy would plague our world.

Yet pain breaks Godís heart, and so God has taken manís misuse and abuse of free will and redeemed it. God isnít about righting all the wrongs on earth. But, He is about taking the wrongs and making something beautiful of them. And so He constantly offers opportunities for His children to exercise that free will in love towards one another so that some of what has been broken can be remade. Pain offers opportunity for growth in love.

Pain is a unique opportunity for humanity to choose whether it will love God for who He is, rather than for the gifts that He bestows upon His creation. Granted, God loves to give to His children. God wants to be loved for who He is -- for His mercy, grace, kindness, compassion, and other attributes -- and not because He makes life easy for us.

God allows pain to remind us that our home is not in this world, that our real life begins in the afterlife, in heaven. He wishes for us to long for that place. And pain has a way of keeping our hope there, rather than on earth. This is a good thing, for heaven promises more wonderful, beautiful things than those which are found here. Earth is for deciding whether we will love one another as well as our Creator; Heaven is where our experience of life will find its fruition.

FROM THE OBLATESUSA.ORG

It matters not whether we live in metropolitan areas or in woodlands, deserts, or prairies, nature is an integral and essential part of our lives.

We like to think of ourselves as self-sufficient, yet we could not survive without the air we breathe. Nor could we live long without sunlight, water, and food. Our bodies are totally dependent on nature.

God created and gave us nature not only to sustain us but also for our enjoyment. Nature is our playground. We can climb mountains or ski down their slopes. Surf or scuba dive. Hike in the forests or cycle through hills and prairies. We can immerse our hands in the earth to plant and harvest. Or take delight in birds and other wild animals. We might view mountains, oceans, glaciers, and islands from a tour bus or cruise ship. Or take pleasure from walking, sitting quietly in the shade, viewing a sunset, or looking at the stars.

All of this is good, yet nature has even more to offer us. If we but listen, nature speaks to us in bold terms about the power, immensity, creativity, majesty, and love of God, and about our relationship with our Creator.

At times, nature overwhelms us with its power. But natureís power pales in comparison with that of God, which is far greater than an earthquake, volcano, hurricane, or even a tsunami. Yet God does not strike us down or control us. Instead God gives us a free will and shares His power with us, saying that, if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we can move mountains.

The immensity of nature Ė from the universe of sun, moon, planets, and stars to the tiniest creatures beneath the sea and in the earth Ė pales in comparison with the immensity of God. Although it is impossible for our minds to fully grasp, God is greater than the universe. God came among us, taught us how to love, and then suffered and died to give us eternal life. And then God as Holy Spirit came to live with each of us intimately, taking up residence in our hearts and whispering in our ears.


PHOTO COURTESY OF IMAGES PHILIPPINES: "Nature's Harmony" by Samuel Peralta De Leon

The wide variety of plants and animals in nature reflects Godís playful creativity and scientific genius. The intricate workings of even the tiniest creature attest to this. Then God put all of this at our disposal.

We stand in awe of majestic mountains and glaciers without realizing how much greater Godís majesty is. Yet, like the father of the prodigal son, God bends His knee to lift us up Ė even when we are immersed in sin Ė and offers us forgiveness and welcomes us home.

What can our response be to Godís compassionate love, forgiveness, and overwhelming generosity? The answer is simple: love. We are called to love not only God and one another, but also all things within nature. Out of that love grows an awareness and desire to take care of nature by preserving, protecting, and partaking of it justly.

God, open my eyes to the wonders of nature, increase my love for all that nature gives me, guide me in my use of these gifts, and give me the strength and courage to speak out on issues that threaten to compromise and destroy plants and animals, the earth itself, and the air we breathe. Amen.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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