Hebrews 11:1

Why Does God Allow Hurt?

with 11 comments

Have you ever sat by and listened to a friend pout our their heart about the hurt they’ve endured and listen to them question why God would allow this? I’ve been blessed to have hurt in my life but minimal hurt – the kind you can easily chalk up to God building your character and strengthening your faith. Other Christians have had their faith rocked by hurt and Max Lucado does a great job of explaining where God is during this time in his book “Come Thirsty.” Check out the excerpt below:

Some find the thought impossible to accept. One dear woman did. After I shared these ideas in a public setting she asked to speak with me. Husband at her side, she related the story of her horrible childhood. First abused, then abandoned by her father. Unimaginable and undeserved hurt scar her early memories. Through tear-filled eyes she asked, “do you mean to tell me God was watching the whole time?”

The question vibrated in the room. I shifted in my chair and answered, “yes, he was. I don’t know why he allowed your hurt, but I do know this. He loves you and hurts with you.” She didn’t’ like the answer. But dare we say anything else? Dare we suggest that God dozed off? Abandoned his post? That heaven sees but can’t act? That our father is kind but not strong, or strong but doesn’t care?

I wish she could have spoken to Joseph. His brothers abused him, selling him into slavery. Was God watching? Yes. And our sovereign God used their rebellious hearts to save a nation from famine and the family of the Messiah from extinction. As Joseph told them, “God turned into good what you meant for evil” (Gen 50:20).

I wish she could have spoken to Lazarus. He grew deathly ill. When Jesus heard the news, he did nothing. Jesus waited until Lazarus was four-days dead in the grave. Why? “For the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it” (John 11:4).

Best of all would have been a conversation with Jesus himself. He begged God for a different itinerary: a crossless death. From Gethsemane’s garden Christ pleaded for a plan B. Redemption with no nails. “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. YesI want your will, not mine.’ Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him” (Luke 22:42-43).

Did God hear the prayer of his Son? Enough to send an angel. Did God spare his son from death? No. The glory of God outranked the comfort of Christ. So Christ suffered, and God’s grace was displayed and deployed.

Are you called to endure a Gethsemane season? Have you “been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for his sake” (Phil 1:29 NSV)?

If so, then come thirsty and drink deeply from his lordship. He authors all itineraries. He knows what is best. No struggle will come your way apart from his purpose, presence, and permission. What encouragement this brings! You are never the victim of nature of the prey of fate. Chance is eliminated. You are more than a weather vane whipped about by the winds of fortune. Would God truly abandon you to the whims of drug-crazed thieves, greedy corporate raiders or evil leaders? Perish the thought!

Written by Ryan

August 27, 2007 at 1:32 am

Posted in Books, Christian, Max Lucado

11 Responses

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  1. The fact that God allows some of us to hurt so much more deeply and greatly than others is certainly not an honor as this implies

    It is easy as this writer did to point out how noble it is to hurt for God’s sake when one is not in the hurting person’s shoes

    You should be ashamed of yourself for writing such a thing unless you have experienced great tragedy

    You truly know not of what you speak . . . quiet yourself

    Karen Vigil

    November 8, 2009 at 10:16 pm

  2. One follow up question – when God allows this hurt for a purpose with his permission, what do you do when you can’t find that purpose? What do you do when you’ve given everything to God and He’s taken it all, but there has been no growth (spiritually, emotionally, etc) in you or anybody else? What then was the purpose of the pain and how can you reconcile an image of a loving God to a purposeless pain?


    March 15, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    • You have no idea how much I relate to your post… My thoughts and my life are exactly where you are. Does God care? Maybe… but, where is God and Him acting on answering our issues in life. Trust me… I do understand… Where is this one that is so worshiped and adored by millions…? What good is He if He does nothing for us…
      For instance.. I love and care about my little girl (daughter) but what good would I be if I never did anything for her… no matter hlw much she begged.


      June 13, 2013 at 11:51 am

  3. You are absolutely right, Tiffany. Nothing has changed. No one around me has even noticed or cared. I have found no great purpose to have had more tragic losses than others, except that I am suffering more. What is the purpose of that?

    Karen Vigil

    February 10, 2011 at 6:13 pm

  4. I’m in the same boat Karen. I’ve suffered so much more than my siblings have. Everything I’ve tried to improve myself has failed miserably no matter how hard I try. out of 4 children I’m the only one to develop alcoholism (I’m off the booze for almost 2 yrs. now). Out of 4 children I’ve still not found a life mate, and I continually get blocked at all times for advancement in my profession when the other 3 advance regularly. I’m tormented at all times with bad thoughts and have turned to God on everything with no help in sight. I’m so lost I’m not sure what to think anymore


    July 26, 2011 at 4:02 am

    • Hi Gary. I, too, am a recovered alcoholic (since July 1999). Unlike you, I am an only child. However, I suffered much physical and emotional abuse at the hand of my parents, which, in turn, led me down the road to ruin.

      By taking the 12-Steps of recovery as suggested in the book Alcoholics Anonymous, I learned much about myself. I underwent a change of heart. A transformation of thought and attitude took place and I learned that I am spiritually sick when all I think about is myself and my circumstances. I thought I needed this, that, and the other thing to be happy and at peace in this world. To coin an old song, I was looking for love (acceptance) in all the wrong places and I was blaming everyone and everything for my unhappiness. I could only see things from my perspective. How vain and self-centered is that? Me thinking I know better than God.

      When I learned to accept life as it is, my perspective of God and the people around me changed completely. I learned that it is in the giving, not the taking, that I can find true peace and happiness. When I strive to help others instead of helping myself, I can see that my life has purpose and value, and I am no longer feeling sorry for myself because I am no longer self-centered, but God-centered. When my greatest desire lined up with my greatest need, then I began to truly live. For it was in this recovery process that I learned that my greatest need, is my need for God. Today my greatest desire is my desire to know and serve Him, for without him, I have no life.

      Karl D Rhoads

      October 2, 2011 at 10:26 am

    • Gary,

      Your circumstances are eerily similar to those of my x boyfriend. It’s uncanny really. When he stopped drinking for almost 2 years prior to my meeting him, he though that was the end of the story. What he did not realize (similar to where you seem stuck) is that the alcohol was a (wrong) solution to his problems, not the problem itself.

      He measures his value and happiness the way you seem to here- career, marriage, etc. and he compared himself to everyone- and always fell short in his own mind.

      The reason it seemed there was “no help in sight” was because he was still trying to control the world and using ‘alcoholic thinking” as the standard. God has different standards and they have nothing to do with money, career advancement for prestige/ultimate source of happiness…

      He could not understand why he had problems with women (he said women are bad, entitled, only out to take his freedom and money away – you have said none of that – that’s him) and could not figure out why HE was being deprived of a good relationship with a Godly woman. HIS thinking created his reality. In truth, he is emotionally abusive, selfish, entitled, judgmental and violent at times, drives drunk, gets arrested and has no remorse, empathy and a lack of gratitude that he didn’t kill or hurt anyone.

      however, he feels that a relationship partner will solve all of his problems because that’s what “everyone else has”. he destroys whatever he touches without help from anyone else and blames everyone else – because he is using the wrong yardstick.

      That’s HIM, not necessarily you. my point is this- many times we think we are ‘turning to God” but what we really are doing is asking God to do what we want him to do, instead of doing what he asks us to do in our own best interest. many times we measure ourselves brutally against worldly values and envy/covet what others have, as if those things were right for us and we are somehow being deprived. We all get what God knows we are ready for. Sometimes that means painful and heartbreaking lessons.

      If I could say one thing to my x, it would be this: I pray for you everyday that God continues to touch you. I pray for the spiritual strongholds that plague and torment you will go to the foot of the cross to be judged by the authority of Jesus Christ. I pray that you will cease to torture yourself with untrue standards and live in the grace and freedom of God, who does not judge you the way you judge yourself. He judges fairly. I pray you find salvation because God judges the heart, and his judgment can result in eternal separation from him. I fear that for myself and everyone I love. I pray for God to touch us all. In Jesus name. Amen.


      August 24, 2012 at 12:39 pm

  5. I have had great hurts thats why i came searching to the reason why God allows hurts and what he says about it. I try to remind myself that this world is ridden with sin but i never understood why some people are blessed more than others and sometimes the really good ones who really strive to follow are the ones who have the toughest route to follow. Its New Years Eve and I am trying to let go of an abusive spouse who has been nothing more to my kids and myself as a joy taker….But its for better or worse right. SAD


    December 31, 2011 at 10:57 am

    • Hi Brittny. I am so sorry for all that you are going through. As I was reading what you wrote, something that the Christ said came to mind, so I looked it up so that I might share it with you. I pray that you will find this encouraging and that you will continue to seek his guidance and comfort as you walk through your time of tribulation.

      “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” –John 16:33 ESV

      Karl D Rhoads

      December 31, 2011 at 12:28 pm

      • Thanks for that scripture statement. He overcame the world by completing his task which was ultimately a worldy death that all of us must take on one point or another to gain the true prize. Don’t get me wrong or anything but i read your story about how you suffered emotional abuse at the hands of your parents and i saw that you took a very good route of dealing with it. However, you said learned how to take life the way it is I kinnda grew sad….. I help out everyone when i can and still am abandoned and left in troubling situations. And Yes God is there but it would be nice to have a companion with you there to endure some of the troubles and not leave you when its no longer beneficial to them to stick around… Self centered thoughts.. Somewhat but ultimately how can you be happy if you are constantly caused pain by something or someone else?


        December 31, 2011 at 1:02 pm

  6. It’s very dangerous to be a fatalist, meaning for everything there is a purpose. I too have suffered horrific abuse at the hand of wicked people, both godless “unsaved” and from two-faced “church people”. Man was created with a free will. We, Adam’s descendants still have free wills. We can use these free wills we possess to do great good or great evil. Sometimes terrible horrific things happen “just because”. I know as a young boy sexual molestation, torture, neglect and a plethora of other abuses. I lost a child, I watched my father drown when I was a boy and I was thrown to the wolves by my mother.
    I’m a grandfather 9 times over today. I don’t know how I made it this far. What I do know is that God allows the innocent to suffer. He will one day make it right in His time. That’s the hard part is the waiting. God is not bound by time.
    I think Max would be less prone to pontificate on his lofty words on suffering if he really knew suffering. I think he could do more good if he took up needle point.


    June 2, 2014 at 8:07 pm

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