This is the introduction to the project answering the question, “How can a loving God allow suffering?” You are invited to search through all the posts and pick up succeeding articles.
In just a few short months of 2012 and 2013, the following gut-wrenching accounts were filed in courtrooms and newspapers across the great United States of America – a land that is known for welcoming people from all over the world with the invitation: Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free…1
On April 6, 2012 in Indianapolis, Mark McCoy faced 27 felony counts and one misdemeanor count of charges including child molesting, child solicitation, criminal confinement and intimidation. His crime? He forced a 10-year-old to have sex with his 41-year-old mother.2 Court records say the mother tried several times to escape with no success. What would possess a man to such absurdly wicked actions?
On April 9, 2012 in Ogden, Utah, Dea Millerberg, 39, testified with immunity after she was charged with dumping her 16 year-old babysitter’s body after her husband lethally injected the girl with heroin and methamphetamine. Millerberg gave her account of the final hours of Alexis Rasmussen’s life, and her husband Eric is charged with child abuse homicide, unlawful sexual activity with a minor and obstructing justice. Eric Millerberg was absent, but already being held in a Utah State Prison on a probation violation.3 How could this man and wife have taken the life of this young woman, who had served them in the care of their children?
On May 16, 2012 in Chicago, Estrella Carrera was stabbed to death.4 She was still wearing her silver sequined cocktail dress from her own wedding with her boyfriend, Arnoldo Jimenez. Her family received the shocking phone call from the groom’s family after the couple’s bad fight. The 26-year-old mother of two was secretly married in Chicago’s City Hall and her death left terrible questions with no immediate answers. What provoked this suffering not just for the couple, but now for the immediate and extended family and friends?
On July 20, 2012, in Aurora, Colorado, James Holmes entered a midnight screening of the new Batman film and killed 12 moviegoers and injured 58 others.5 Holmes, a 24-year-old doctoral student, entered the Century 16 theater of the Aurora Mall without saying a word; his hair was dyed orange-red. It was one the worst mass shootings in United States history. How could he cause such pain and suffering to the victims, their families and the entire community?
From June through August, 2012, some 34,500 residents were evacuated from wildfires in Colorado. Drought conditions, wind and heat amplified tinder explosions as tremendous loss and suffering mounted. Where can a person live where natural devastation will not occur?
On December 14, 2012, in Newtown Connecticut, 20-year-old Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary School and murdered 26 children and adults.6 What would have driven Lanza to murder victims as young as five-years-old and leave families as well as friends all over the state and nation, as well as the world to wonder how such pain and suffering could happen?
On April 13, 2013, in Brooklyn, Ohio, Kevin Allen fatally shot his 42-year-old wife, Katherina and 10-year-old daughter Kerri on her 10th birthday at a crowded Cracker Barrel restaurant.7 The couple’s 10-year-old daughter, Kayla, was wounded in the shooting. Kevin Allen was shot and killed by police at the scene when he wouldn’t surrender. What would cause Kevin Allen to inflict such pain and suffering on his family, as well as those enjoying a meal at the restaurant?
The issue is not just the physical suffering endured, but the mental anguish of those who remain that will contemplate the incident and question their safety. For example, when her cousin and 11 others were gunned down at the Aurora, Colorado., movie theater last July, Anita Busch lost all interest in her favorite television crime dramas. And when she heard that three people had been killed at an Oregon shopping mall in December, she stopped her Christmas shopping and sneaked out the back door of a department store. She said, “After Aurora, even my little niece who’s 11 was afraid to go into a mall, to go shopping,” the Los Angeles woman says. “I look around all the time. I think everyone does.”8
Then people struggle with safety issues at sporting events, reinforced by the “Boston bombing.” On April 15, 2013, five were left dead, 264 were injured and an additional 16 injured police officers from subsequent shootings over the five day period of April 15 to April 19.9 Where is there freedom from pain and suffering in the world’s most powerful nation in the world?
If the world’s most powerful nation, economically and militarily, the United States of America, cannot be a place where peace and liberty dwell, then where? And if there is going to be pain and suffering, then why? What are the underlying reasons for all the pain and suffering?
Who is to blame for all the pain and suffering? If there is so much pain and suffering, is there not a God who can prevent it all? And if God cannot prevent the pain and suffering, then why can He not? If He is powerful and reportedly a loving God, then how can so much pain and suffering exist?
[Continue on this site for more articles answering the question, “How can a loving God allow suffering?”]
1This is the beginning of the Statue of Liberty Inscription: It’s becoming more and more difficult to explain that we are truly a nation who welcomes people to be free.