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Why do some people suffer more than others?

If God loves us all equally, why are some people sailing along in life comfortably and are others facing many problems?

The question starts with the assumption that God loves everyone the same. And indeed God shows a general love to the whole world: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son” (John 3:16). God’s love to sinners is wide and generous and is extended to all. Therefore He desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). And yet there is testimony in the Bible to God’s special love for His people, a love based on a covenant between God and His people. See this article by John Piper for a very good discussion on this theme.

God longs to see Jesus in His every child

But the question remains how can God allow a lot of suffering to happen in some peoples’ lives and not in others’? God has His unique plan with every individual. We should always keep in mind that He is sovereign and that His wisdom exceeds ours infinitely. “His understanding is unsearchable” (Isaiah 40: 28). In Romans, Paul teaches us that God uses every circumstance in the lives of those who love Him, for their good. So what is this good? That through all that happens in a person’s life, we are conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:28-29).

God longs to see Jesus in His every child. “..In order that He may be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29). God will use everything in the lives of His beloved to do just that: bring out the image of His Son. God is sovereign and infinitely wise. He is the One who decides what it takes to bring about this likeness of Jesus in each believer’s life.

God’s love is the answer to suffering

This means that God can choose to allow suffering in the lives of some of His children if that is what it takes. C.S. Lewis is well known for his statement that “suffering is God’s megaphone to this world.” It is often through suffering that man starts calling upon the name of the Lord. But thank God, nothing, not even the blackest misery can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:31-40). From this passage it is clear that suffering does not nullify God’s love, but that God’s love is the big answer to suffering.


Yes, God chooses a unique set of circumstances for every person. But He makes no distinction among believers because of race, social standing or sex – salvation in Jesus Christ is the same irrespective of these differences!

How does this Bible explanation speak to you? Please share your thoughts below!

Also read Why did Jesus have to suffer?

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Esther Visser

Esther Visser (1972) was born in Gouda, a town in Holland. She did a 2-year masters degree at Tyndale Theological Seminary in Badhoevedorp, to prepare for the mission field. In 2000 her husband and she were sent to Thailand as church planters, in cooperation with OMF and GZB. They lived and worked there for 15 years, together with their two children. At this time Esther works as a writer and editor for GlobalRize and is assistent editor of De Waarheidsvriend, the house magazine of the Gereformeerde Bond within the Protestant Church of The Netherlands. She is also active as an artist.

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