Suffering: Are there innocent people that God allows to suffer? Part 1

This is the first part of the article answering the question, ‘Are there innocent people that God allows to suffer?” which is part of the larger series, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Three additional parts will be posted over the next three days.

In June 1991, in South Lake Tahoe, California, Jaycee Lee Dugard walked from home to a school bus stop and was kidnapped. She was kept captive for 18 years and forced to bear two daughters in 1994 and 1998 from sexual assaults.1 Why did she have to suffer like that and for that long? How could thousands of innocent people suffer from hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquake and tsunamis? How can God, who is purportedly good and powerful, allow this?

Thousands of people live near Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, most of them revered this mountain. Then came that fateful June of 1991, when they grew to fear the volcano. When it erupted, about 56,000 people were evacuated and the property damage was enormous. Why did these suffer so much, of whom most were children?

How could millions of innocent people suffer at the hands of evil dictators? For example, why did six million Jews and over five million others suffer ghastly torture and death in the Nazi prison camps? Why did so many innocent children get sent to the gas chambers as soon as they arrived? What did they do to suffer at the hands of the wicked leaders?

How could a couple innocently driving on Christmas day be allowed to suffer from the error of another driver?

Consider those who suffer from disabilities. Additionally, consider family members that provide care and compassion needed for those less able. Daniel Thomson wrote regarding the extra pressures of family members and friends caring for those less able,

Considering the millions of families who in turn suffer in isolation, it is not surprising that families who have children with a disability have significantly higher rates of divorce or separation, as well as lower average household incomes, when compared to families with children without a disability.2

Are these and millions of other people innocent? In many cases, people are completely innocent of the specific suffering they faced or are facing. Whether it be a daughter raped by her father, or children beaten by a drunk live-in boyfriend, or a God-fearing wife with a cheating husband, or a wife gambling and wiping out family savings, there are thousands of reasons to flood your eyes with tears about this wickedness! When you deal with hurting people and get below the surface, you cannot imagine all the different horrible stories of suffering you might hear from them. Their lives may seem to be going well, but they have scars from the past or present circumstances in their lives.  Truly, there is evil all around us!

Yet how innocent are people in their suffering? And in what ways?

The next part will be posted tomorrow.


2Robert M. Hodapp and Diane V. Krasner, “Families of Children with Disabilities: findings from a National Sample of Eighth Grade Students, “ Exceptionality 6, no. 2 (1994-1995):71-81 documented in Thomson, Daniel, Why, O God, p. 29.


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