I have gathered several quotes on the subject of suffering. I think it is a good way to see a broad worldview of how others feel about the subject. It is interesting that some of the quotes I have have chosen were written by people directly attacking Christianity and God regarding why we suffer. Basically saying that people are crazy to adhere to a religion that has such an angry God. Why would anyone want to believe or trust in a God that is the cause for all our suffering? Well you know what I think they are right. I am happy to say that I do not believe in a God like that. I believe in a good, loving, just God who would never use His power to abuse me. So where does suffering come from? I break it down like this...suffering(in general) comes from these 4 things...
1) A direct result of exercising our free will to sin. In the Old Testament when this sin multiplied to a national scale it was usually the cause for exile. But not exile by God, exile because they made the choice to step out of the protection of God and His law. In turn enemies had the chance to move in. God always gave several warnings to come back into relationship with Him to be protected. This was the cry of the prophets to the people...as we know they usually didn't listen until it was too late. Today we still incur our own suffering due to sin and choosing to break relationship with God.
2) An attack from the enemy, meaning the devil. As in the book of Job. Click here to read that blog. The devils mission is always to destroy us and defame God. He was doing it 5000 years ago and he is still doing it today.
3) An attack from someone else exercising their free will to do evil. This was in the old testament and the new. In the new testament this is the suffering most often discussed. The suffering they were enduring was the actual persecution of anyone trying to spread the gospel. They were literally being hunted, tortured and killed if caught! We are not talking about having back pain for Jesus. These people were being fed to the lions in arenas, made into human torches by Nero, and being physically crucified on the crosses of the Romans. All for their faith.
Today this is the suffering of abuse, neglect, oppression, war or any other human caused suffering.
4) Natural disaster. In the garden of Eden we were given dominion over all creation, then we choose with our free will to sin. This in turn effected all creation and is why I believe we have natural disasters. In Romans 8:20-21 it says "...for creation was subjected to futility; not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay..." This won't happen until Jesus returns.
So notice none of the suffering is from God. Yes, God corrects us, but He is never abusive. Remember "there is no fear in love" 1 John 4:18. Also remember He will never compromise our freedom to exercise our free will. Whether the choice be good or bad. He will not control us. That is not love and God is always loving. He will however work all suffering for good and restore what was stolen from us. That is a good God! That is my God!
So keep all that in mind while reading these quotes...
"Love never claims, it ever gives, love never suffers, never resents, never revenges itself. Where there is love there is life; hatred leads to destruction" Gandhi
"Vice has more martyrs than virtue; and it often happens that men suffer more to be lost than to be saved." Charles Caleb Colton
"Although the world is full of suffering it is also full of overcoming it." Helen Keller
"Faith is not simply a patience that passively suffers until the storm is past. Rather it is a spirit that bears all things-with resignations; yes, but above all, with blazing, serene hope."
"Suffering is not a punishment, it is a result." Robert Green Ingersol
"You must believe that God is separate from the world and that some of the things we see in it are contrary to His will." C.S. Lewis
"To be or not to be that is the question. Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the slings ans arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of trouble, and by opposing them, end them." Hamlet...William Shakespeare
"A wise man will make haste to forgive, because he knows the true value of time, and will not suffer it to pass away in unnecessary pain." Samuel Johnson
"Love does not cause suffering: what causes it is a sense of ownership, which is loves opposite."
Antoine de Saint Exupery
"The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live."
"Fear is the path to the dark side, fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." Yoda...Star Wars
"Now it seems to me that love of some kind is the only possible explanation of the extraordinary amount of suffering that there is in this world." Oscar Wilde
"Men are so simple and yield so readily to the desires of the moment that he who will trick will always find another who will suffer to be tricked." Machiavelli
"I am bigger than anything that can happen to me. All these things sorrow, misfortune, and suffering are outside my door. I am in the house and I have the key." Charles Fletcher Cummis