Why Does God Allow Diseases to Occur?

From Issue: Discovery 4/1/2001

We do not have to live very long before we learn that many people suffer from painful diseases. Some people have cancer, others have AIDS, and still others have hundreds of different sicknesses. In fact, every single person in the world eventually suffers some kind of pain such as a broken arm, the death of a loved one, or emotional pain like rejection or abuse.

So why doesn’t God stop all the suffering and pain? The Bible says that He is all-powerful (Revelation 4:8). That means He has the power to stop it any time He chooses. The Bible also describes God as being all-good (Luke 18:19). Wouldn’t a good person want to help someone who is suffering? How can God be all-good and all-powerful, and yet still allow people to suffer?

In order to answer this question, we must go all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Before Adam and Eve sinned, there were no diseases or suffering. Everything God had made was pure and good. One of those good things that God gave Adam and Eve was the freedom to make their own decisions. They were given the ability to decide if they wanted to obey or disobey God. The heavenly Father did not create humans to be like robots that must do what they are programmed to do. God is love (1 John 4:8), and love allows people to make their own decisions. [Think of how parents love their children and because of that love, allow the children to make personal choices on occasion.]

Unfortunately, Adam and Eve made the wrong decision. They chose to disobey God, and their sin brought pain, suffering, disease, and death into the world. These terrible consequences of sin are not God’s fault; rather they are the results of sinful human beings. And one reason that God does not remove all suffering in this life is because He wants us to be free to make our own decisions—just like Adam and Eve.

But what about innocent people such as babies? Why do they sometimes suffer even when they have done nothing wrong? Look at the life of Jesus. He suffered terribly, even though He never had done anything wrong. Innocent people sometimes suffer because those around them make wrong decisions.

Even though suffering and pain seem terrible now, we must remember that they are only temporary. This world never was intended to be our final home, and the suffering that God allows to take place on this Earth is small compared to the joy that He will give to faithful Christians. The apostle Paul wrote: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

God loved humans so much that He allowed them to have the freedom to choose even when He knew it would cost Him the death of His precious Son Jesus. Let’s use the suffering that comes into our lives to help others see God’s love.


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