How can God be fair when some people go through so much pain?

Benedict Poh // May 11, 2018, 2:27 pm

Through the eyes of a youth worker

I’m sure we’ve all thought about this question at some point.

Being a youth worker,  I engage at-risk youths who are neglected by society or lack parental supervision.

Many come from broken families and are abused at home. Because of such an upbringing they face a lot of pain and issues in their lives: Loneliness, anger, fear, lust, hopelessness … The list isn’t exhaustive.

Some even develop mental issues like depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), OCD, schizophrenia and anger disorders.

It always makes me wonder: It’s one thing to bring suffering upon yourself – but what about those who were born into it?

They didn’t choose such a life. The more I think about these kids, the more I feel like they were given the short end of the stick. I know plenty of people who would probably never go through some of the things these kids go through.

It feels so unfair. These children need to go through so much more than most people, take a longer time than most people, overcome more things than most people — just to get to where most people are.

For the longest time, I didn’t know whether I would ever have an answer that would justify logically or intellectually why some people go through such pain and suffering and others don’t. But as I began to pray about this issue, I started to be reminded of certain truths.

And as God revealed His heart for these kids to me — He ministered to mine.

All pain and suffering stem from sin. Whatever the kids go through are the full-grown fruits of broken families, someone’s abusive behaviour, someone’s sins — someone’s pain.

But the one thing people don’t know or forget is that these things don’t reign over us. Not when we have Jesus.

“For sin shall no longer be your master because you are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:14)

Maybe someone else’s actions have caused our afflictions — but God has come to help us. Men bring trouble upon themselves — but God took it upon Himself to save them.

The Bible tells us to “glory” in our suffering. That means living life trusting that suffering produces perseverance. Perseverance builds character; character fosters hope. And this is a hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us.

The answer to your pain and suffering is found in walking with Jesus.

In life, many shiver and run at the thought of suffering or pain. But God says we can “glory” in it because every pain of this world, when put in the Father’s hands, can be used for His purpose. That’s the hope!

Maybe you feel like someone or something has brought you a lot of grief and pain in life. Sometimes it’s the devil, sometimes it’s the decisions. But it doesn’t matter who did it, because it has to pass through the same hands before it gets to you — God’s hands.

God is always good. He is able to use even other people’s bad decisions to get you to your destiny. That’s what life looks like in the hands of a loving Father.  

“To the Lord, your God belongs the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.” Deuteronomy (10:14)

We often look at life with eyes of pain, and ask God to give us an answer as to why we are going through certain seasons.

And we unknowingly expect Him to answer in the way we want Him to. We want a Bible verse to “pop up” and make us feel warm inside, or a worship song to soothe our hearts. And then we expect these things to answer our wide-ranging problems completely at that moment.

But these things can’t always do that. Love is not a song, theology or an analogy of God’s love.

Love is a person. And His name is Jesus.

“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us … ” (1 John 3:16)

Every pain of this world, when put in the Father’s hands, can be used for His purpose. That’s the hope!

God knew of the hardships and trials we would go through in this world — and He gave us His son. The answer to your pain and suffering is found in walking with Jesus. Instead of an encounter you had at the altar or a word of affirmation from someone — you have the Son of God who walks with you, speaks to you, guides you, encourages you, empathises with you and loves you.

The Son of God is your friend! From the beginning, God saw our needs and fulfilled all of them by sending His Son to die for us and reconcile the world to Him.

“But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,” (Romans 5:20)

So remember whose hands you are in. You have been loved by God with Jesus. And as a youth worker, I am able to have hope in the work that I do, knowing that the more darkness tries to invade, the brighter God’s light will shine.

There is an abundance of His grace and mercy for every pain and form of brokenness. Grace to trust, grace to sustain — grace to overcome.