This is Part 1 of 6 parts answering the question, “How long does God allow suffering to continue?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Parts 2-6 will be posted on succeeding days.
The most difficult kind of suffering is that which lasts for an extended time. It’s not hard to endure a needle shot in the arm or detention after school, because the suffering only lasts a short time. But when the symptoms of cancer linger until a painful death or the mental and emotional suffering from the loss of a child lasts for one’s life, the agony can become almost unbearable.
Suffering is Confined to Time For the Believer
Fortunately for the Christian, his suffering is confined to time. He will only suffer during his earthly life (Gen. 3:17-19; Rev. 21:12-15). Eternity is much “longer” than that! Bildad the Shuhite said, “For we were born yesterday, and know nothing, because our days on earth are a shadow.” (Job 8:9 NKJ) While life seems so real to us now, it will be but a shadow compared to the glory to come! I appreciate Moses’ words in Psalm 90. He acknowledged the eternality of God in verse two. In verse three, he described how a thousand years to God is like yesterday when it is past (90:3). Then Moses wrote in verse ten, “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” (Ps. 90:10 NKJ) Our lives are full of labor and sorrow. Most people can identify with both labor and sorrow!
For God’s child there is no pain after the grave, although John wrote that God will wipe away every tear, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev 21:4 NKJ) This passage pictures heaven for the believer/ The tears ,au be from:
- the regret of knowing what he could have had if he had been more faithful during his time on earth,
- the regret that loved ones will not be in heaven that they could have shared the gospel with,
- the regret of realizing the shame that he brought on the name of Jesus Christ because of his sins of disobedience,
- or the regret that he didn’t trust God more.
In any event, the tears will be wiped away at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and for the rest of eternity the Christian will worship at the throne of Jesus.
Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.