Bible Prophecy forecasts episode after episode of natural disasters along with the wars brought on by the final world empire. According to Bible Prophecy through Jesus's own predictions one can expect to suffer at the hands of their own family members. Jesus warns that family members will be turning each over to death. Children will turn in their parents and parents their children. Human suffering will mark the end times and the final days of this earth. This brings us back to one of the biggest stumbling blocks for many persons. How can a loving God allow so much suffering?
In these end times we read story after story of human suffering. I think of the mother of five from Uganda who watched as burglars killed her husband and afterwards cut off her hands to leave her for dead, yet she lived. A prosthetic limb company graciously donated her new arms to help her care for her children once again. There is the Connecticut Dr. Petit, a diabetes specialist who can no longer practice medicine. He was emotionally destroyed after a couple of thieves broke into his home and beat him with a bat and left him in the cellar to die. They tied and raped his 11 year old daughter and wife and killed both of his daughters and wife and burned down his home. The criminal who raped his 11 year old daughter filmed the rape on his cell phone. There are many, many more stories relaying horrors beyond imagination, just read the pages of Amnesty International about the human rights abuses and brutal acts of torture that occur around the globe. The Islamic State is another example of suffering beyond imagination caused at the hand of men. So great are the atrocities and brutality that they exactly mirror the description of the end times predicted in 2 Timothy. Next to this group, one can think of so many instances of man's inhumanity to man.The Holocaust provides another snap shot.
In Bible Prophecy we learn that the Tribulation will epitomize human suffering. While horrific suffering and man’s inhumanity to man has occurred throughout the ages, Bible Prophecy forecasts more of it. How can a loving God allow so much suffering in the world he created? How can he love us and not fix our problems so that we do not have to suffer?This question has troubled man through the ages and also led many to turn away from God and disbelieve in His existence. The answer to this question lies in the cross. Imagine the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who comes to this earth and dies a most brutal, torturous death. What humility to go to the depths of human suffering Himself so that He can understand our suffering. At the same time, Jesus's death on the cross brings us our redemption and eternal life. He knows our pain, the worst that this world can dish out to us because he has been through it. Betrayed by one of his disciples, He was ridiculed, beaten and died a most savage death at the hands of man who He reigns over.
The next key to understanding human suffering is found in John 18:36 where Jesus answering Pilate stated: “My kingdom is not of this world, If my kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now My kingdom is not from here.” Jesus is telling us that the kingdoms of this world are not His, if it is not Jesus’ world, whose world is it this? It is the Devil’s or the Devil’s playground. Jesus tells us that in the world we will have tribulation, in John 16:33 he states, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace, “In the world you will have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Based on what Jesus said to us it does not sound like the world is a people friendly place and the only peace we will have in this world is in Him. God describes the new heaven and earth in the book of Revelation and states in Revelation 21:4: And God will wipe away ever 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. The former things being this miserable, pain and suffering world. When Jesus foretold about the tribulation period he talks about believers “enduring” until the end (Matthew 24:13.) enduring as in enduring pain and hardship.
The question again remains, how can a loving God create a world filled with pain and suffering? Before God created man he created the angels who have great powers. The head angel wanted to be like God and rebelled against Him and took many angels with him. When God created man he gave him free will and at the Garden of Eden the first battle on earth between good and evil, God and the Devil took place over the battle for the mind of man. At the moment Satan won a victory which God countered with the prophecy of the birth and death of Jesus Christ. Thus the battle for man started and will end at the battle of Armageddon. The various kingdoms of this world i.e. the world system belongs to the Devil. The Kingdom of our Christ is not of this world or any of its systems.
I believe God knew Satan would rebel and allowed it because Satan represents all that is anti Christ and anti God. They diametrically oppose one another. God allows Satan and will eradicate him. It is this author’s feeling that Satan represents sin and God knew sin existed and in Satan it manifested and through God’s plan sin had to manifest for God to eradicate it and the battle is part of the plan for its irradiation. What does this mean for humankind who live in this imperfect world with sinful and evil persons, where we experience death and loss and for some pain beyond our imaginations. But, in all of the pain this world offers and will only increase during the Tribulation, Jesus gives us the promise that he will always be with us that He will never forsake us. We are never alone; He understands all of our pain and troubles. The Son of God came to earth and died a most horrible and brutal death to offer us both redemption and consolation and in Him we have the promise of eternal life and of heaven, the place where we will not deal with any pain, or death, or loss, or sinful and evil persons. It makes His world that which we can be happy to be part of as we separate from this world in Him.
In business a good boss does not place himself above his employees but partakes in the very work that he asks them to do. Jesus is like that business owner, he did not expect us to endure the pain and hardships of this life without first putting himself through them. The cross in essence is multi faceted and not just a symbol of redemption but also of consolation. The coming Tribulation and its hardships and the disasters that will occur and lead to the Tribulation are all the more reason to focus on the cross and the coming kingdom in which all that is evil and sinful will be eradicated.
In Hebrews Chapter 11 which acts as the hall of faith listing its great leaders, verse 13 states that “they confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” and 14 goes on to say that “they seek a homeland” 16 adds that “they desire a better, that is a heavenly country”. The chapter concludes by mentioning the prophets and others who met brutal tortures and deaths and also those who “wandered about in sheepskins, and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.” We think of those greatly blessed with possessions and good things as those who God favors and finds worthy. These things give one self esteem when as God sees it is those who during their faith walk suffer tremendous hardship, afflictions and loss and some for the cause of Christ that the world is not worthy of. So it will be during the Tribulation, those who suffer through the hardships and endure will not be worthy of the world in which they find themselves and through it all Jesus will be right beside them.
Finally, Jesus does not put the value in the body but the soul. In Bible Prophecy when Jesus predicts the torture and murder of the Christians during the Tribulation, he tells them in Matthew 10:28 not to fear those who can kill the body, but are powerless over the soul. Jesus has eternity in His eye's view.