God's just not that into you

I have received the question pretty often, "How could a loving God allow all the suffering in the world."

This makes it sound as if God is sitting by with his enormous arms crossed staring down indifferently. Or maybe he's not staring down at all, but occupied with something else. It's as if the asker of this question is saying, God's just not all that into us.

Nacho Libre said, "They think I don't know a buttload of crap about the gospel, but I do." I want to make sure we know at least as much as Nacho, and hopefully more, about the gospel. That's where we will find the answer to this question.

God loves us so much he gave us volition. 

Volition is, The faculty or power of using one's own will. It's as if God chose to enter a creative partnership with every human being. (Proverbs 16:9) This partnership is designed to allow man his own creative decision while being directed by God. You could think of it as an apprenticeship. Man holds the paintbrush, while the master painter stands near ready to help direct each stroke. However, man quickly abandoned the "God-guidance" part. It's as if man elbowed the teacher, grabbed the canvas, and ran for the bushes. As my wife used to say when she was a kid, "I can do it myself." So man echoed. It grieves God to see mankind trample the canvas he's given us. Early on God even regretted making man because of his capacity for sin. (Genesis 6:6) After all, the canvas was crafted in the image of God himself. (Genesis 1:27)

Even though, God could rip the canvas out of our hands, and fix it's muddy image, he doesn't. 

He's so committed to the creative partnership that he has chosen to allow humans their volition, even when their volition drains their own life. (Romans 1:24)

It's the volition of man, that causes the suffering of the world. One second the God-hater complains, "How could God allow suffering?" God could end suffering but he would have to revoke his gift of volition to do it. As soon as God did this, the God-haters would change their tune saying, "How can a loving God take away our free will?" The fact is, God-haters will hate God no matter what he does.

Suffering is a gift to God's children.

Suffering increases believer's ability to experience God's glory in the future Kingdom. If there were no obstacles then His children would never grow. If there was no opportunity to grow then we would have no chance for greater reward, and closer fellowship with Christ. As strange as it sounds, suffering is a gift from God for those who have believed in him. Suffering is a chance to earn amazing eternal rewards, for those who are God's children. (James 1:2-5)

A coach is only as good as the suffering he makes his players endure.

Let's imagine that you joined the football team. Despite the fact that you have amazing athletic potential, the coach never lets to you take the field during practice or games. At first you appreciate not having to sweat, run laps, and suffer heat exhaustion. It doesn't take long to realize that, even though you're missing out on the suffering of practices, you really want to be part of the action.

After months of sitting the bench in frustration, you go to your coach. When you ask him why he never let's you play he says, "I want to make sure you never develop as a player. If I let you practice, or put you into the game you might improve. If you improved you would have a chance to get a college scholarship. If that happened you might play professional football and make millions of dollars. I don't want you to have any of those opportunities so I don't let you work out, play in practice scrimmages, or take the field in games."

You would rightfully determine that the coach is evil. That coach would be considered vindictive and possibly the worst human being on the face of the Earth.

In the same way that allowing his players to suffer in practice makes for a good coach, God allows us to suffer because he's a good God. He has positions of responsibility for faithful believers in the future Kingdom of Heaven. Obedient Christians suffer in order that we might be prepared to take up positions of leadership in his Kingdom. (2 Timothy 2:12) From this perspective, he allows us to suffer because he loves us and wants to see us succeed. He let's us suffer because he's good.

Finally, God wants to rescue all of mankind from suffering in an ultimate reboot of the cosmos. (Revelation 21:1-4) In this Earth 2.0 God plans for there to be NO MORE SUFFERING. The suffering of the former world (our current home) will have accomplished it's purpose of maturing the believers who will reign with Christ. The New Heaven and New Earth will be free of pain.

God extends an invitation to all humans. 

He laid down a heavy price to save you. He gave his son, Jesus, for you and everyone who will accept the free gift. He wants to give everyone eternal life. (1 Timothy 2:4) Just because he wants everyone to have it doesn't mean he will get what he wants. Volition, remember. He won't force anyone to enter the Kingdom of Heaven who doesn't want to be there. He invites all who wish to be in the Kingdom to believe in Jesus, it's future King. (John 3:16) Whoever believes in Jesus, as the giver of eternal, life will have it.

Christians, your salvation is secure, if you've believed in Christ alone for eternal life. You can never lose it. Now it's time to let the suffering in your life grow you toward rewards in the future Kingdom of God. As Jesus said, "store up treasures in Heaven." (Matthew 6:20) Christians, you have an amazing opportunity to earn rewards in the future by how you respond to suffering now.

Not-Yet-Christians, If you've never believed, it's time. God offers eternal life for anyone who simply believes in Jesus. He is the resurrection and the life. He will resurrect body and soul of those who have believed in him, to live physically and eternally in his Kingdom. (John 11:25-26) Do you believe this? If you do, then you have eternal life.

How could anyone think, God's just not that into us... Yeah right. He's so into us.