Question: What does the Bible say about suffering? Why does God allow man to suffer? How does the Bible explain natural disasters?
Answer: When God created the world there was no such thing as suffering, disasters and death. The Bible informs us that "God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good" (Genesis 1:31). Sadly the good creation was ruined by man's sin - our rebellion to the authority of our Maker. The Bible describes God's judgement on our sin:
And unto Adam he said, "Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Genesis 3:17-19).
Ours is a cursed world. Every earthquake, hurricane, flood and fire should remind us how serious sin is in the sight of God. We cannot say, as some do, that God is not involved in these things. He is the Lord of the creation, and nothing happens in the universe apart from His providence. Indeed it was God who destroyed the earth in a global flood in Noah's time. Even when Satan is involved in our suffering, as in the case of Job, God is always the sovereign ruler who directs whatever transpires. The enemy of our soul cannot even touch a hair unless God permits it.
Let us not doubt not even for a moment the righteousness and justice of God when disaster comes. Let us never dream of accusing God of injustice. For if it was not for His longsuffering, all of us would have been consumed long ago. May God grant us repentance, humility and faith in Him. He is a merciful God and there is redemption for His people...and indeed for the universe.
Christians have their share of trouble here on earth. Suffering reminds us that our pilgrimage on earth is but for a moment and that we are looking forward to our eternal bliss in heaven. God also employs suffering to humble us, to teach sympathy and mercy for others, and to increase our faith in Him. At the coming of Christ, our redemption will be complete and there will be no more tears and pain. The curse will be lifted forever and creation will be restored. Praise God!
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now (Romans 8:18-22)