Where is God in suffering is a question that most of us would have battled with at some stage of our life. Specially, ‘why innocent children have to suffer’ or ‘why good people have to suffer’ are questions that most people cannot understand.
First of all, if you are going through some kind of suffering and would like our prayers, please write to us via the ‘contact author’ link. Be assured that we will pray for you during our family prayers, Rosary and Eucharist Adoration. I hope the content of this page would bring you some consolation.
People wonder that if God loved us and created us, why would He let us suffer? Some think that ‘God punishes us’ or worse off they wonder, ‘Is there a God?’.
I found my answer to the question Where is God in suffering when I kept gazing at Jesus on the Cross. There he hangs unable to move, nails pierced through his wrists and feet, his body scourged and his face covered with blood flowing from the thorn pierced head.
Do you think God punished Jesus, or God did not care or God did not exist? We know that it was God’s will for Jesus to suffer and die – because God loved us. God was there with Jesus, during Jesus’ passion and death.
Battling with the question Where is God in suffering, and looking at Jesus on the cross, I realised how much God loved us. Jesus was innocent and when the innocent suffer, it is for the redemption of others around them.
During my daughter’s missionary trip to Papua New Guinea, she saw a baby with Tuberculosis struggling to breath. She was confused and wondered, where is God in all this suffering.
Later she realised that God was there, suffering in the innocent - so we
would act with love towards the suffering person. When we are drawn to
care for the suffering people, we radiate God’s LOVE to them. These
acts of love in turn helps us in our own redemption.
Jesus’ words, “I was hungry and you gave me food ... a stranger and you welcomed me, ... naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me ... whatever you did for these least brothers of mine, you did for me”. So, instead of trying to find an answer for Where is God in suffering, we can make use of every opportunity to care for Jesus by helping the suffering people.
When we ourselves are inflicted with suffering, keep gazing at Jesus on the cross. If you don’t have a crucifix, picture him in your imagination. Some might think that Jesus did not suffer because he was God. In fact Jesus was also fully human and he did feel every bit of pain, physically, emotionally and mentally . When Jesus prayed in the garden, he sweated blood. Jesus feared the pain so much that he prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will”. (Matthew 26:39). That night his friends could not stay awake, even though he asked them to (Matthew 26: 38-44). Imagine the loneliness and feeling of abandonment.
On the cross when he was losing blood, hanging for hours, getting suffocated, and knowing that his mother was watching, imagine His mental suffering? He cries, “My God My God, why have You forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) This is the climax of Jesus’ suffering. In spite of being God, he totally emptied himself of any divine power: all for the sake of LOVE FOR US.
Although, traumatic life experiences, make us question Where is God in suffering, now we know that Jesus suffers with us. Therefore, we Catholics do not blame God when we are in pain. We bear the pain united with Jesus’ sufferings. When Jesus said, “Come Follow Me” (Mathew 4:19), he did not mean just to share in the joys and miracles. But also to follow him in his sufferings, so we can enjoy the same resurrection and eternal life.
I always wondered how lucky Simon the Cyrenian was, when he was called to shoulder a little bit of Jesus’ suffering by bearing the weight of the cross? (Mark 15: 21). Simon might not have understood this calling nor would he have recognised who Jesus was at first. He would have grumbled like us and wondered, “Why Me – why do I have to carry this cross?” But later, when he left Jesus after recognising who Jesus was, imagine the joy! Would you have missed that opportunity if you were called to help Jesus carry his cross? ..... Think again.... Isn’t Jesus calling you now in the same way he called Simon and His Apostles?
Once a priest said, "the great joy brought by Jesus is so real, that this joy can pass through every kind of suffering without being smothered".
It is ‘suffering joyfully’ that made ordinary people saints. St Therese of Lisieux was able to offer every little opportunity to suffer, as a ‘Little Flower’ for Jesus. Know the story of Blessed Hermann?
God does not give us any cross that we cannot carry nor does he ask us to inflict any suffering upon ourselves. We have plenty of opportunities in a single day with injustices and petty annoyances caused by others. If only we could pray for those who hurt us, we are on our way to becoming saints. Such acts are very pleasing to God, because of our love and courage.
How do we know that suffering bring us joy?
Your sufferings do not go in vain. The culmination of Jesus’ suffering was His glorious resurrection. The Bible tells us, “... that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:16-17)
Isaiah prophesised, “I am about to create new heavens and a new earth ... there shall always be rejoicing and happiness ... No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there, or the sound of crying; ... None shall hurt or destroy on my holy mountain...” (Isaiah 66:17-25)
Jesus promises us the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ and calls us ‘Blessed’! What a great opportunity you and I have? Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit ... Blessed are they who mourn ... Blessed are the meek ... Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness ... Blessed are they who are persecuted ... Blessed are you when they insult you ... and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.” (Mathew 5:3-12)
Instead of asking, Where is God in suffering, now we know that God calls us to become saints through our suffering? Now we can find meaning in our suffering. We know that suffering is a call to HOLYNESS – a call to be united in LOVE with JESUS.
Prayer for those persecuted or wonder Where is God in suffering or Is there a God.