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How Can God Allow So Much Suffering?

'Wickedness never was happiness' Alma 41:10

Corianton had done wrong. With the ensuing shame and pain suffered by him and his family a classic dilemma emerged. Is God harsh or kind? Does He ease suffering or inflict it? If there is a God, why does he allow so much suffering with consequences of crime and disaster perpetuating generations? 'My son, I perceive there is somewhat more which doth worry your mind, which ye cannot understand—which is concerning the justice of God in the punishment of the sinner; for ye do try to suppose that it is injustice that the sinner should be consigned to a state of misery.' Alma 42:1


Without considering His Son, enmity toward God or dismissal of Him entirely is understandable in a world of abandonment, inequity, disaster and disability. Spiritual sickness is pandemic. Innocent children often fall victim... 'The whole earth groans under the weight of its iniquity. It is an iron yoke, it is a strong band; they are the very handcuffs, and chains, and shackles, and fetters of hell.' Doctrine & Covenants 123:7-8


As parent, Alma could have been angry with Corianton. The first chief judge and great high priest - how terribly Corianton had smeared his family name. Alma did not dwell on himself. He saw his son and recognised his mistakes had made him teachable. Alma knew and taught the plan of redemption and restoration. Understanding this plan reveals God for whom He is. The plan of redemption does not remove pain, but heals it. For every one of us to find healing is the answer to the title question. When God removes suffering, he also takes our opportunity to be healed. Only through being healed can we become like Christ. One who knows all sickness, pain and suffering, and overcame it. 'The decrees of God are unalterable; therefore, the way is prepared that whosoever will may walk therein and be saved.' Alma 41:8


The proof of Heavenly Father and Jesus as healers is profound. From the moment our body or spirit is injured, it strives to heal and is surrounded by healers. Human touch, companionship, nature, imagination, peace, meditation, yoga, music, art, exercise, friendship, family, food, water, every material element has woven into it an intrinsic power to heal. Only our pride and will can stop healing. 'And he said: Go and tell this people—Hear ye indeed, but they understood not; and see ye indeed, but they perceived not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes—lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted and be healed.' 2 Nephi 16:9-10 Isaiah 6:9-10


Our challenge is it to believe He can heal us.


'And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them...And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; and wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.

'He answereth him...bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, how long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.

'Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. When Jesus saw...he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.

'And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.' Mark 9:11-29


This father had likely heard or seen the miracles of Jesus, marvelled and rejoiced. But how different when asked if he believed he could be healed. Only he knew the full extent of the miracle required. The years this father had toiled protecting his son, enduring stigma and worry. Prevalent beliefs of the time blamed physical disability on the wickedness of parents. Falsely, this father was wrought with shame. Others deserved healing - but him? His son? 'The father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.'


The same is true for us, as we fall victim to life. It is easy to see joy in others, blessed with harmony or talents, but to believe this for ourselves? Unlikely. Instead, we think, 'I must work my own miracle, fight for my life and defend myself from pain'. This life of fear prevents a great miracle. One available to all. If we believe in Christ, live a life of faith, give what we have willingly, a beauty and peace surpassing any pain comes in.


I don't consider me much

I see the world and I fear

I could not be much an angel

I've fallen too far

Not what you are:

Light in your eyes

Children who stride like they know where they're going

Sure what they know, glad to give

Seeing thru tears and thru sorrow,

Show me a way

But oh how I stray

I believe, Lord, help my unbelief


How can love ever be blind?

Looking beyond what I see

Seeing that I am an angel

Never too far

Love is where you are

Brightening eyes

Trusting a whisper to say where I'm going

Thankful to know

Free to not live in my tears or my sorrow

Taking His hand

His wounded hands

There

I believe.





'For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.' 1 Corinthians 13:12-13

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