Human suffering can be great. If you get exposed to some of the worst of it, the experience can be faith crushing. If there is a God of love, how can all of this pain exist?
The first thing to clearly understand is why loss, hardship and heartbreak exist according to the Bible. God did not create the world to be like this. He doesn’t rejoice in the pain of anyone. In fact, it is extremely rare that God is the direct cause of suffering. The Bible says the world is filled with frustration and pain because it is under a curse. What that means is that God stepped back somewhat from controlling the events of this universe. He did not abandon it. He doesn’t mess with it. What we have is a world that acts in part unrestrained by God, and it isn’t good. If God completely stepped away we would quickly be annihilated.
Why did God step back? Human sin. Our forebears decided they wanted to be like God (which was never a real possibility). They disobeyed the only command they had, and consequently proved that they did not freely love God. That doesn’t mean that God no longer loves us, however. He has simply let us have what we asked for. The result is such things as natural disasters, disease, accidents, famine, aging and death. Add to this the direct result of sin being a part of human existence and we can add crime, abuse, divorce, neglect, war and more; and you have the mess in which we must live.
Sometimes we are sheltered from the worst that humanity can be or the worst the world can offer. We harbor a delusion that this world is basically a happy place. The reality of the situation can be a punch in the gut. I suspect that much of the PTSD (Post Traumatic Shock Disorder) that is experienced in this world, particularly by soldiers, is the result of not being prepared for the ugly reality of this world. Sin and the curse are no joke.
Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble”. He braces his disciples against an overly optimistic view of the world. But Jesus concludes, “but take heart I have overcome the world.” Jesus’ victory through his death and resurrection mean that the ugliness will eventually end and that there is freedom beyond the grave and help on this side of death to face this world.