The Meaning of Life and Why Suffering Exists (Part I)
“This is God's universal purpose for [all suffering:] more contentment in God and less satisfaction in the world.” – John Piper
With every passing day, it is becoming clearer that the entire world is suffering from a pandemic; that pandemic – COVID-19 – is spreading daily at an alarming rate. According to Worldometers.info, approximately 215 countries throughout the world have been infected by the virus, with a total number of 14,175,994 cases as of July 18, 2020, 00:24 GMT; that’s around .18 % of the entire world's population – a little less then ¼ of 1% - but significant considering that the virus was released into the world in December 2019 – eight months ago. While the virus may not appear to be causing a dent in the overall world population, it would wipe out the entire world population within around 350 years if it were to continue its current rate. The significance of this is huge. Not only is the virus affecting countries at an alarming rate but it’s causing people to reconsider the meaning of life itself as well as ask why suffering exists. Whether you are passively witnessing what is going on throughout the world or have personally experienced the virus in the form of sickness, it is natural to ask questions regarding life and suffering. In the Holy Bible, King Solomon wrote about how God has “put eternity into [every person’s] heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 ESV). What this means is that all people know that this life is not the end; it causes people to wonder about the meaning of life itself. If you indeed are one of those people and are possibly wondering why suffering exists, then we’d like to provide one possible idea as to why you might be suffering. It may be somewhat of a relief to you, or it may at least help you answer some of your questions.
Why me? Why am I going through this?
This, for any person, is one of the most important questions that one can ask about suffering because it brings the person asking to the center of the question. If an answer is found, it is a direct way of bringing appreciation or eventual alleviation to the suffering.
At times, people can struggle with suffering because they put themselves in a situation to suffer. Naturally, this suffering should teach a person to learn to not put themselves in the same situation again – meaning, it causes them to grow and to gain character. In the context of COVID-19, however, suffering is coming from another source outside of our control. There have been many suggestions as to why this occurs – but, we would like to offer a reason that possibly may make more sense without getting into too much detail for this post: God is looking for a relationship with you.
Yes, that may sound like a lofty idea, but we are convinced that it’s the case. We see greater forces at work here than what meets the eyes. It could be that – with the world getting worse and worse every day, God may be trying to form a close relationship with his creation. Let's take a look at what the Bible says to give you some sort of an idea.