Why does God allow suffering? Especially to believers. To those who are seeking to follow and obey him. Why are we not instead shielded from suffering in the world? While we might wish that were the case, the reality is often quite different, as the passage below illustrates.
Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead.Acts 14:19 NIV
God had called Paul to go and preach the gospel to the Gentiles, and he was faithfully doing just that. And yet here he found himself stoned and left for dead. And, lest you think this was an isolated incident, take a look at 2 Corinthians 11:21-29 where Paul recounts some of the sufferings he has been through. Why did God not protect him from all this?
That is, at least for me, a hard question to answer. Clearly, God allows bad things to happen to those who are doing good, and to his faithful servants. We are not shielded from all the bad things of this world, as much as we might wish we were. In fact, as Christians, we are told to expect trouble from the world (John 15:18-25; 2 Tim 3:12). What God’s reasons are for allowing us to go through this are not always clear but do include our own personal growth (1 Peter 1:6-7) and witness to the world (1 Peter 2:12). While we may never know why we suffer, we should trust God and continue to faithfully serve him (1 Peter 4:19).