I know there is great risk of sounding trite in attempting a short answer to such a complex question, but I recently received an insight that I found quite profound.
We live in a world damaged by sin. As long as Satan is ‘the god of this world’ there will be suffering. Most Christians accept this truth, but it is difficult knowing that God could stop it.
So, what would an end to sin and suffering look like? We would have a gloriously perfect world! A world, in fact, exactly like the one God has promised will come one day. The question, therefore, is not, ‘why won’t God end suffering,’ but rather, ‘why won’t God end suffering now?’
I recently heard Dr. Les Crawford, from the Adelaide College of Ministries, make this comment: ‘If God brought in the new heaven and the new earth now – that would be the end of redemption.’
It really hit me. To end suffering would mean to destroy all that is corrupted by sin. And God’s glorious agenda is to be ‘patient…not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.’
Some people face horrific suffering in this life, and I don’t want to trivialise that, but we must not judge God to be unkind for not yet transforming the world. He does it out of a heart of amazing grace, because He knows that while we are here, our suffering is temporary, but once the doors close on redemption, it is eternal.