Hebrews 11:1

Why Does God Allow Hurt?

with 21 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

21 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

    • I realize this is almost 4 years later. I wish I could tell you why God allows this. My Dad, my abuser, was a successful person, had a large home, deacon/head deacon, founder of a Christian college and institute, honorary Doctorate, God also blessed him with the Federal Government giving him both CSRS and Social Security for his retirement. Me? I have no retirement. My house is about to be in foreclosure, I have no job and my sanity is suspect, at best. Why the difference especially when all my life I’ve only asked for God’s will, to do what He wanted?

      I can say that through all the suffering my wife, my children and I have been through, I’ve learned what suffering truly means. As a result the Scriptures light up. They have new meaning. When in Romans Paul says that we groan in pain…I totally understand pain. Another benefit is that I’m able to relate to you to some degree. Interestingly, your post is 3 months after I left my job due to sexual harassment by a Federal Supervisor. I have become more loving and gentle to others. I have become more patient with both myself and others. I would say that I’m at less peace and joy seems to be non-existent. I seriously contemplate suicide at least once a month. But I’m still here. I fuss and argue and cry out “Why have you forsaken me God?”, “What did I do to deserve this?” All I can come up with is the Blind man from John 9, who was born that way.

      In Mark 10:29-31 – This is a SAD life and I remain here only because God said I should. But there are repeated days where I think, “Wouldn’t it be easier on my wife and kids not to have me around?” So for me, the adage “Life sucks and then you die” seems to be true. All my life I’ve been abused or harassed by someone or that abuse/harassment has cost me all that I have. I just keep hoping, but just barely, that God has a plan and that it will result in good for me…not just the fruit of the Spirit as I’ve stated above, but in real mental health, restoration. But for some reason, I don’t think so…and I honestly don’t know why. I’ve asked my counselor, my mentor, what did I do to deserve this? They really can’t come up with anything substantial. I’ve made my mistakes, but they weren’t deliberate. They were based on fear and worthlessness from abuse. What do you do with that?

      I stupidly reached out to the girl mentioned below, Patty, on Facebook. Huge mistake. She blocked me when all I did was offered her the chance to read what was happening in my life. This, 25 years later. I need to lower my expectations of life and of God…and that’s a shame.

      Nathan Z. Solomon

      October 5, 2015 at 11:35 pm

      • Just when i am up in a rut battling the same battle in my life. I receive ur post. Came in at the right time especially since i had given up.i am still fighting a losing battle. Im broken but not defeated. I am reminding myself over and over again just like the sun rises and sets this shall pass too. I just dont know when. All i know is that im still here and suffered more losses since that post i made i loss my child and my dog both to death in this situation. My job and my place to stay with my cars were lost as well just to try to rebuild again. With the abuse at hand. Broken blood vessels in my eye and death is still knocking at my door. I just hope it passes soon


        October 6, 2015 at 12:09 am

      • Thank you Brittnybliss for the update. Thank you for reading my posts. I’m truly sorry for your loss and cannot imagine the pain and sorrow you’re dealing with. I read in the Bible that God is a God of restoration. I also know that sometimes hope is something that’s too difficult to hold on to. I’ve learned that it’s OK to let it go for a while and then pick it up when you’re strong enough.

        Another thing is that God, in most cases, seems interweave our life fixes into time itself.

        One more item, God seems to bless those He chooses and doesn’t bless those He chooses not to. One reason for that is so that we can empathize with others who have suffered similarly. There is also a need within each of us, as part of our healing, to reach out to those who are fellow-sufferers and this helps to heal us as well.

        “My ways are higher than your ways. My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” I can only hope (when I’m able) that for you and I and for all those who have suffered and are suffering that there’s not only an end to the suffering, but full restoration and then some. Take care Brittnybliss. :-)

        Nathan Z. Solomon

        October 6, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      • Thank you for your uplifiting thoughts ;) I really needed them I didn’t know they put my first and middle name on my reply back but oh well. I have to agree that I have been able to understand others more as I have gone through losing a child and going through bankrupcy along with a heep of other things. I’m just glad your message came in when it did because I honestly had given up and I felt like there was no hope. Now I feel better than i did. THANK YOU SOOOO VERY MUCH!!!!


        October 6, 2015 at 3:53 pm

      • If any of you wish, you can contact me at snowflake0446@icloud.com. I’m not perfect, I’m down a lot. But I’m here…a person who has been through some of what you’ve gone through.

        Nathan Z Solomon

        October 11, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      • http://www.preaching.com/sermons/11550487/

        This link helped me a lot. You’ll see some Disqus entries. Mine are called “Snowflake0446”. On page 9, you’ll see me being very angry, but then the reply comes 15 hours later, “Thy will be done”. It takes awhile to finally say to yourself, “I’m going to trust God no matter what has happened to me.” I highly recommend it to my fellow suffers..especially when the suffering comes from those we trusted.

        Nathan Z Solomon

        October 17, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      • You always seem to bring a answer when I need it the most once again. Same situation baffled me as I am to be induced to give birth to my daughter tommorow and I am hit in the most awful way by her father my spouse and told how I am nothing and that he hopes i die in the delivery room. Those words hit to the core. I helped this man with all I had just to be called out my name and betrayed.I Felt like being a jerk myself since I can call the shots in what goes on with me and excluding him from the birth of our daughter and sticking it to him where it would hurt him. But what would I gain from it? Nothing I would gain nothing from it. then when you said your reply was on page 9 I found this saying on the top Love . . .
        ordains every struggle to strengthen us,
        lights every furnace to purify us,
        mingles every bitter cup to heal us. then I started to think and I felt better along with your post on the page as well. Thanks


        October 17, 2015 at 3:15 pm

      • I found the answer for me when I needed it the most. Now I’m just helping others as I can…because that’s part of why we are here. I need to do this and I very much appreciate your response that I am helping in some small way. I will pray that your delivery is easy, your daughter healthy, and that God transforms your spouse’s heart. When your delivery is complete, my sincere hope is that her Apgar scores are 9 and 10. :-)

        Nathan Z Solomon

        October 17, 2015 at 7:18 pm

      • Thanks and I will let you know all is well once I deliver her.


        October 17, 2015 at 9:26 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

  7. Allow me to offer what has helped me…but first, some background: Physically abused as a baby (cried too much according to my Dad), emotionally abused by both parents, the ever-loving Church certainly helped by making sure I wore my mask of “righteousness” to church every day as well as at home. I fell in love with a girl named Patty in 1978 praying that I would marry her some day. After 12 years of seeing her on and off and being so ashamed of myself that I pushed her away, I tried again in 1990. But that ended in disaster and the final break-up. That was bad enough. But then God calls me to pray for her in late Oct 2004 which sends me into examination mode…WHY GOD? My brother later stole a contract from me and my Dad chose his side. After 8 years of not speaking to my Dad, I attempted reconciliation. My mom stopped that. My Dad died. I was sexually harassed by my Federal Supervisor, etc. In 2011 Aug, I totally broke. I couldn’t go on anymore. I had been seeing a counselor, but it wasn’t helping. My first Psych asked me, “Are you nuts?” when I offered him the same solution my next counselor and I talked about and agreed on. By Oct 2012, I attempted suicide. While in the Psych ward, I helped people there to the point where the Psych there thanked me for being there and the Social worker was just baffled by not only my ability to adjust, but to help others. Still jobless, my business “Anastasys, LLC” is gone, I’ve gone through all my retirement money, I now have 3 choices: Deed in lieu of foreclosure, Short-sale, or Foreclosure. We are on food stamps and have received energy assistance.

    Some of my (your) questions: Where is God? Why did He allow this? Where did I go wrong? What did I do to deserve this much pain, especially as a child?

    Now, let’s get to the real deal: Many of you are correct in that it’s easy to say some of the things the article points out. So here’s what I’ve come up with. I hope it helps:
    1) Never compare yourself or your journey with another person. As soon as you do you will either feel worse because you are worse off or better off than they are. Either way, you lose. In addition, you can’t know their inner self. As a result, you’re comparing your inner self (that you know so well), to their outer selves where they project their best. Don’t do it.
    2) You seek justice, but there is no justice: In truth, we hope, somehow that the Sowing/Reaping or Karma “law” comes about. But as I’ve read through the New Testament, what I see is that the righteous suffer. I see no where that Jesus makes us “happy” here on this Earth. As the song says, “This is not our home, I’m just-a passin’ through”.
    3) What you all are really grappling with is your understanding of the situation, the past and the present and future. None of it makes sense considering a loving God, who is supposedly “for” us. That’s totally understandable. The article mentions Joseph, Lazarus and even Jesus. But they forgot the most important one: The Blind Man who was born blind from birth (John 9). Here is someone I think we can identify with. He didn’t do anything wrong. He was born that way. We, too, were born into some difficult circumstances. God didn’t just say, “Tag, You’re it!” and place us with families who broke us.
    4) Who has Authority/Control? We often talk about how God’s plan will ultimately come to pass. Then we assign the control of the Universe and all things in it to Him. But it doesn’t work that way. If it did, then Satan would be doing the direct will of God. This would also apply to those who hurt us. God directed them to hurt us. But that doesn’t sound right to me. So the way I look at is that God gives freedom to each of us to do what we want in a certain confined area. For example, at the Tower of Babel, God knew He would have to curtail some of that freedom so He caused everyone to have different languages. He did the same when He limited our lives span to 120 years. So I draw a little sphere around each person. God doesn’t penetrate that sphere unless He absolutely has to. In the case of Balaam, He did. He made the words come out opposite of what he wanted to say, interfering with his will.
    So now you have a sphere around each person. We can make that sphere grow or shrink it. I call them Boundaries. Some someone hurts us, they have extended their sphere around us. This is never what God intended. It’s called control. The only control anyone really has is over themselves. But this idea that people should control others is evil in action. We have all been through too much. Our job, as I see it, is to remember who it was who hurt us and attempt to identify that type of person and never trust that type of person again….to never extend our control over others or allow others to extend their control over us…to realize that we have suffered not because we did something wrong, but because they did. Blame them. Then you can work to forgive them…but never, ever reconcile with them. They are toxic to you.

    This life sucks!! But we are here. Heb 10 – Preserver, Don’t give up. You won’t be happy. Joy comes and goes like waves so don’t expect to be joyful all the time. “Choosing joy” is about lowering expectations until you learn to expect nothing and just live in the moment. Difficult, at best.

    5) Finally and most importantly: The OT is not the NT. Don’t expect the same wrath/reward as in the OT. Jesus never mentions it. Hope requires strength. Sometimes you have to let go of hope, for a little while. That’s OK too. Alway feel free to doubt. It’s not a sin. The problem is when you stop fighting for your faith, stop wrestling with God. But even then, know that let God do His thing and you do the best you can. Always question God. “Why have you forsaken me?” is a question. Ask those questions. Allow yourself to be frustrated with God. I have even said on Facebook, “I HATE GOD!” Why? Because I love Him, but I don’t understand. Isn’t that what children say to their parents? They need their parents, but they just don’t understand.

    Love to all, my fellow suffers.

    Nathan Z. Solomon

    September 26, 2015 at 8:41 pm

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