Where Is God When It Hurts? by Philip Yancey

“Suffering on our planet has come about because of two principles that God built into creation: a physical world that runs according to consistent natural laws, and human freedom.”

Pain is one of the biggest road blocks for non-believers on the road to faith, and personally, I do not disagree with them. Pain is a horrible thing and it typically does not make a lot of sense. Pain, suffering, brokenness, or whatever you call is piece of the very fabric that is our world. God our Creator designed it that way. At first glance, that seems like a rather inferior Creator. Why would God allow pain to exist? Is He not all-loving? Does He not enjoy seeing me laugh rather than weep?

God does not want us to be in pain, but he designed pain in such a way that we cannot avoid it, and that is why it hurts. We cannot judge God on the basis of our present world, this is not His fault, and the pain of the world is our doing. If anything, this world is an example of God’s mercy, not His cruelty.

Pain points us in the right direction. Yes, this world is unfair but God is the most unfair when He sent His son to die on the cross. Pain shows us something is wrong. When we put our hand on the hot stove it burns telling us to remove our hand immediately. When a loved one dies it hurts tremendously because God has designed us to love others eternally.

I know that there is nothing Philip Yancey or any author can write that will satisfy my questions about pain. Pain is not an answer. God is not always trying to punish us with pain, nor is He trying to teach us something every time. Pain exists because we are free, God is good and we are not. Pain points us to the problem. There is problem in this world.

This is an easy read on the problem of suffering. Yancey does not try to throw us a bunch of clichés to get you through a troubled time. No book can please my answers, however in the end, God is a God of love, not a god of pleasure and punishment. He wants our hearts.