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Why Does God Allow Suffering? - by Pat Campbell
Why does God allow suffering? Actually He doesn't. He neither allows suffering nor disallows it because He doesn't create it; we do! You may ask why we would want to create suffering for ourselves? I will endeavour to explain in this article.
Firstly, many people think of God as being an entity separate from ourselves but this is not the case. We are a part of God, sort of like cells in His body except that He doesn't actually have a body as such (or an image for that matter). But for the sake of understanding imagine that He does have a body which is the entire infinite universe. And everything - a rock, a grain of sand, a blade of grass, a tree, an animal and of course us humans are a part of God because God is All There Is. There is nothing that isn't God!
However, there is one part of us that is different than other life forms. We were given free will. A rock does not have the free will to decide to change into something else, neither does a leaf or a drop of water. Of course changes do occur in nature all the time, sometimes slowly over thousands or millions of years like the breakdown of a rock into sand or soil and sometimes quickly like the transformation of a cloud into rain or the evaporation of water drops on a hot day. But the rocks, water etc do not have a choice in the matter. Their transformation is entirely due to the cycles of nature.
But souls do have free will. With that free will not only can we decide what we will do or not do while here on earth in a human body but we can also make choices while in spirit form between incarnations. The purpose of any soul is to evolve to progressively higher levels.
In the beginning there was only God and nothing else. God knew everything on a conceptual level but was unable to experience anything because there was no comparison to anything else. How can you know you are love if there is nothing but love? How can you know there is light if there is no darkness? So God created souls with free will so that each soul can incarnate into a human body (if and when it chooses) to have experiences so God can experience through us. And every soul is a perfect child of God because God is perfect love so how could He ever create anything that is less than perfect love? Of course people do not act in perfect ways but everyone's soul (your true self) is perfect. We just appear to mess things up as humans but in fact everything happens with perfect timing and for a reason. It's all for our spiritual evolvement.
In order to experience there must be opposites. We can never know warm if there is no cold, right if there is no left, up if there is no down etc. And so we live in a 3 dimensional world of duality. Everything has an opposite, like two sides of a coin. A one sided coin is impossible.
Sure it would all be very nice if we lived in a utopian world where everything was loving, peaceful and harmonious. But we would never learn anything and so would not evolve spiritually. So that is why we live in a world of duality (opposites) to aid our spiritual growth. But none of these opposites are either good or bad. We can't deny the existence of less favourable situations anymore than we can pretend that one side of a coin doesn't exist. So we must have experiences that are not of love so we can know what is love.
God does not create any of our experiences. We do! God never makes a judgment against us and never punishes us. He won't even come into your life unless you invite Him to.
There are many things we decide on a day to day basis in our human lives. But the "big stuff" we mostly decide before we incarnate into a human body. We decide what lessons we want to learn in this lifetime. Sometimes we may just want to learn a little and we will then experience a relatively easy human life with lots to enjoy but not a lot of spiritual growth. But many of us are more "ambitious" souls (for lack of a better word) and we want to make big strides in our spiritual growth and that involves having a great deal of conflict in our lives as we learn the major life lessons i.e. how to be more loving, more forgiving, more grateful, more accepting etc. Understanding on a conceptual level is not good enough, you have to actually experience these things, to "know" them in your heart.
How could you ever experience forgiveness if there has never been anyone in your life that needs forgiving? And how could you really have genuine gratitude unless you had to struggle first? So over a period of many incarnations (generally hundreds) we eventually learn all the lessons that can be learnt in duality here on earth. And then we get to move onto higher dimensions and learn more complex lessons which we can probably not even guess at with our current understanding. And so the process goes on. It is eternal.
Most (if not all) of the conflicts and traumas we experience involve others and before we incarnate we make agreements with other souls. Sometimes a soul will sacrifice their spiritual growth in one lifetime to help another soul evolve; in other words they play the "bad guy". (For a more detailed explanation of this written as a simple but delightful parable, refer to Neale Donald Walsch's "The Little Soul And The Sun".)
In our natural state as spirit/soul, we all love each other unconditionally. But we forget that as humans, in fact we forget a lot of things in order to have the experiences we have chosen. So this is why there is no "good" and "bad". When someone mistreats us, we have chosen that experience at soul level to further our spiritual growth i.e. to become more forgiving, more accepting etc. If we learn the lesson quickly, then the misdeamour may be fairly mild but if we fail to learn the lesson (which most of us do initially), then the "bad" events will increase until we do learn the lesson. Once we have learnt the lesson, the problem will lessen or disappear altogether (depending on how we apply the lesson in our lives). Nothing much is gained if we forgive one person who wrongs us but continue to make judgments against others. We need to thoroughly learn the lesson and apply it in our lives. And of course we have to learn to love and forgive ourselves as well and be grateful for the every day blessings in our lives.
So it is not up to God to lessen our suffering. It is up to us to learn our lessons quickly and apply them to the best of our ability. But God can help our understanding of course. If problems seem insurmountable, God will help us to understand our lessons but only if we ask.