Pain and suffering is confusing. If God is powerful, then why can’t he make it stop? Is it because he doesn’t care? Or is it because he doesn’t even exist at all?

The problem of pain is hotly debated by theologians and philosophers. But the issue is most real and important when it directly affects our own lives.

John Dickson, in his short book ‘If I were God, I’d end all the Pain’ offers a survey of the solutions offered to this problem by the world’s main religions. One religion promises to help its followers desensitise themselves so they don’t feel pain. Another religion demands its followers submit themselves to God, come what may. Yet another attempts to solve the problem by completely removing God from the equation.

Yet, as Dickson compellingly argues, none of these solutions compete with the profound alternative offered in Christianity. God shows his power and compassion by becoming a human in the person Jesus Christ, and experiences pain as he suffers in death.

However, his death offered more than just a source of divine empathy, the ability for God to say “I know how you feel.” It provided a guaranteed long-term solution to the problem of pain. Jesus’ death provides the certainty of eternal life for those repent and believe in him–a life that offers the hope of a pain-free existence.

There is no simple solution to the problem of pain. But only Christianity promises present-comfort and future-relief from the God who loves us to death.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

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