Is It Fair?
So the short answer to why we suffer is that we and other human beings—in the past and in the present—have chosen evil, and suffering is the result. It’s not fair. It’s not even reasonable. Sin is, by definition, unfair, unjust, hurtful, and wrong. It’s downright brutal. But one thing it is not: sin is not God’s will. God does not want us to suffer. But neither does He want to make us slaves or robots. To be human is to be free, and to be free means we can either choose good or evil with their respective effects.
The plain truth shows that love cannot exist without free will, and free will by its very nature allows for bad choices to be made. So when we say that if God were good He would not allow anyone to ever do anything to cause pain to oneself or to anyone else, we simply are not making logical sense. The opposite is actually true: precisely because God is good, He must allow us to make choices, both good and bad, and experience their outcomes. God always and only wants us to choose good, but He will not force us. God never wills evil or the pain that attends it. We do. Suffering is the by-product of human choices, not God’s. That is the sober reality of freedom.
Yet God is so good that He cannot remain isolated or insulated from our suffering. According to the Bible, He is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Hebrews 4:15, KJV). Speaking of God’s relation to human pain, the prophet Isaiah said, “In all their affliction He was afflicted” (Isaiah 63:9). God so deeply loves each member of the human race that Jesus basically said that anything we do for or against one another is as if we did those deeds to Him (Matthew 25:41-45). All suffering touches God. He is aware of all the tears we cry and the sorrow, grief, or anguish behind them. King David sang of God’s deep sympathy: “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book” (Psalm 56:8, NLT). Love is like that. It suffers with those who suffer.