What Is the Source of Pain and Suffering?

Pete Briscoe explores the source behind the pain and suffering we experience in life.

Questions for Discussion and Personal Reflection

  1. What types of suffering have you endured?
  2. Does the four-act explanation of the biblical story help to paint a picture of God's plan? What about it is helpful, and what is not?

I've been to a lot of third world countries where I've seen, like, true suffering, and compared to the way most of the world suffers, I've suffered very little. Uh, but it's funny, isn't it? Uh, even when we can compare ourselves to true, deep, painful, ongoing suffering, and we see ours as being somewhat minimal, it still really hurts when it happens. If you read the Bible from the very first verse, Genesis 1:1, all the way through the end of the book of Revelation, you're basically seeing four scenes take place. Scene one is called Creation. It's right at the beginning of Genesis. It's where we see how this world and this universe came to be, and there's some beautiful language there. It's an amazing depiction of that. The second scene is called the Fall, and this is in Genesis chapter 3, and it's when Adam and Eve ate the apple and disobeyed God. And this fall wrecked everything. There isn't anything in humanity now that isn't tainted by what's called the Fall. Uh, the fact that everything is not the way it ought to be. It doesn't mean everything is completely bad, uh, but it does mean that nothing is as good as it could be. And there's pain in the world, and there's death now, and there's illness, and there's suffering, and there's fractured relationships. If you read at the beginning of Genesis right after the fall happened, relationships immediately start to fall apart. So not only are we separated from God because of the fall, because of our sin, but our relationships are fractured with one another, too. Um, and then the next scene starts right after the Fall and, and goes through the vast majority of the New Testament. It's called Redemption, and it's God's story to fix this problem. And then the very last scene is at the end of Revelation. It's called Glory. It's a glimpse into the future of where we can be one day with God, um, as Redemption takes place in our life. And the, the reason that's helpful is because we realize that in this day and age in which we live now here on earth, we're living in a time where the Fall is still true. Everything is broken, so bad things happen all the time. Bad things happen to good people all the time. It doesn't make them hurt any less, but we just know that it's true. But something else is going on, too, this thing called Redemption where God is working in humanity to start to reverse the effects of the Fall, and, uh, we recognize that even though we still live in a fallen world, there's hope because God has initiated this action that makes it possible for us to start to experience in reverse the effects of the Fall. One day, we'll be in Glory and all of it will be taken care of. Until then though, we're going to continue to struggle with some really painful stuff. The hope is that Christ can start to reverse some of those things in our lives.