In my various interactions with non-believers, there is a specific argument I hear frequently as they attempt to dismiss belief in God.
Either God is a loving God, or He is an all-powerful God, but He cannot be both. If He was a loving God, He would not allow suffering. And since suffering exists, He is either not loving and doesn’t care, or He is not powerful enough to stop it.
To make an argument like that, people have to start with certain assumptions. One assumption is that God is the cause of all suffering. Another assumption is that He is unreliable and randomly imposes suffering on people. A third assumption is that there is never any purpose in suffering. In addition to those assumptions, people also have to suppose that their personal definition of suffering applies to every person and circumstance. Of course, none of these are true.
An understanding of suffering requires much deeper thinking which the Bible helps us to do through the life of one who suffered. We know him as Job. This Old Testament suffering servant, is a great starting point for our questions on suffering.
So, what can we learn about suffering from Job’s life?