This is the subject of a post I've been working on for a long time and just haven't finished yet, but my friend Nicole wrote a pretty remarkable piece today that moved me to go on and put something down even if it's not complete.
The question is: if there is a God, why would God allow suffering, really horrible, pitiful suffering, worse than most of us can't even imagine?
The atheists have an answer: they say it's all random; good and bad happen randomly and there is nothing more to it. It's tempting to believe their answer, but random can't exist mathematically, so there has to be another explanation.
That puts the ball back in the court of the believers.
Perhaps the answer lies in perspective. In this human form our perspective is so very limited. We are so bound by these pitifully weak bodies, by time, by space, by gravity, by physical needs, by fear, by doubt, that it's very difficult for us to see suffering for what it truly is.
Consider this: all suffering, no matter how horrible, no matter how long lasting, is only temporary. Even if suffering ends in a tragic senseless death, it still ends. We all have suffering, even though some of us seem to have more than their share, and all suffering ends.
Love, however, is eternal. There are people who died forty years ago that I love as much today as I did the day they died. Millions of people love Jesus, a man they never knew, who lived in a place they've never been, and died almost two thousand years ago. Love supersedes death. It is perhaps the only thing we know that truly does.
God created us out of love many thousands of years ago. There has been an unimaginable amount of suffering since then, but all that suffering, all the wars, the disease, the failure, the crime, the evil that men do, it is all gone now, yet the love remains, we remain.
This boy may not have had love in his home in the brief time he was there, but, just like Nicole with her writing, many thousands of people have loved him since, and now his suffering is over and he has God's love forever.
I can't tell you why God allows suffering, perhaps it's just unavoidable in these imperfect bodies, but, a physical life of suffering is unimaginably brief when compared to an eternal spiritual life of love.
These bodies are pitiful. They're weak, they don't last very long and they make us vulnerable to an endless variety of suffering, but they are not us. We are eternal and when we shed our physical bodies we shed all the suffering that goes with them.
So yes, there is suffering, but it's not the end of the story. If we could see our true lives, our true spirits then we would know that suffering is but a brief moment that passes and is gone forever and forever is a very long time.