The question of why bad things happen is surely almost as old as humanity. Not surprisingly, Jesus was asked those sorts of questions. In the account provided by Luke, Jesus is asked about two events which resulted in great suffering. One event fell under what we might call a natural disaster. A tower in Siloam collapsed and killed 18 people. The other event was a particularly heinous act of human evil. Galilean Jews had traveled to the temple to offer sacrifices. Pilate, the Roman governor of that region, had them slaughtered at the temple and their blood mixed with that of their offerings. This was a double tragedy for not only were the Galilean Jews murdered but the temple was defiled.
Such instances have long been fodder for unbelievers to mock the idea of the existence of God. “How can you believe in God when there is such suffering in the world?” they ask. Of course we know from Romans 1 that even the firmest of skeptics cannot escape the knowledge of God. But that is another subject. The question itself is not without merit. Even the most faithful Christians will from time-to-time cry out with the Psalmist, “Why do the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper?” Godly men and women have long grieved over the evil and suffering in the world and perhaps even wondered if the skeptics are right.
But God’s Word never grants legitimacy to the skeptics. Without exception the Scriptures uphold the existence and goodness and power of God as self-evident and undeniable truths written across creation (Romans 1:18-20) and even within the consciences of all people (Romans 2:15). That is not to say that God does not sympathize with those who honestly struggle with the cruel realities of this fallen world. The Bible is full of comforting words for those whose hearts – and perhaps bodies – have been broken by the hard realities of sin and sin’s consequences. There is a wealth of comfort in the Bible for those who suffer.