At some point in their lives all human beings face challenging situations, because these are part of human life. Sometimes they have to do with family relationships, with bringing up children, with health issues, or with financial difficulties, for example.
When problems arise, some people might ask, “Why does God allow suffering?” “Why am I going through such pain?” This article attempts to present some answers to these questions.
With regard to this subject, the President-Preacher of the Religion of God, of the Christ, and of the Holy Spirit1, José de Paiva Netto, clarifies:
“God allows pain not to destroy us, but rather as efficacious remedy for the evils that many times we ourselves have created. Pain serves to recover the balance of the Soul, as fever is our body’s reaction to invasions by diseases.” (Excerpt taken from his book How to Overcome Suffering.)
Therefore, if suffering’s purpose is to help “recover the balance of the Soul,” when difficulties arise the first step to take is the individual effort needed not to revolt. Such a feeling will not solve the problem and it may even aggravate it and bring other ills, such as despair and anxiety.
It’s important to emphasize that pain and suffering are not the only ways (as we shall discuss later in the text) of evolving. But when they appear, they always teach us valuable lessons.
Jesus, the Ecumenical Christ, the Divine Statesman, faced many challenges in His First Visible Visit to Earth. He Himself is the example of how persevering in Goodness is the great response to any suffering; after all, He overcame it and showed that we can all achieve true victory.
With regard to the difficulties that everybody faces in life—and that do not arise in our destiny by chance, He said,
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (The Gospel of Christ according to John 16:33)
Why does suffering exist?
Don’t think that God wants us, or those we love, to suffer. That’s not it! “God is Love,” as John the Evangelist-Prophet wrote in his First Epistle 4:8. Therefore, the “Heavenly Father-Mother” does not create suffering.
We are the ones who draw up the challenges of our existence in the Spiritual World before we reincarnate. You may wonder: but why would I create pain?
First and foremost let’s understand that “we are now body, but we are originally Spirit,” as the Religion of the Third Millennium proclaims. Therefore, our existence begins even before this material experience and it will not be extinguished by the phenomenon of death.
Also in the World of Truth, where we enjoy the awareness of what we need to learn for our spiritual growth, and which will bring us great happiness and tranquillity for our Soul, we draw up a plan for our life that is called Spiritual Agenda.
What is reincarnation and why is it necessary?
We create this agenda with the support of the Spirits of Light, following a Divine criterion. These spiritual friends want everyone to be happy. They know our individual struggles, but they also know the great capacity we have for solving them.
This agenda also includes the situations we need to remedy and overcome, because of quarrels we’ve had and mistakes we’ve made in our past lives. This is the Law of Action and Reaction, which is applied not in a punitive way, but for the benefit of beings.
We also see that the spiritual agenda is dynamic; after all, everyone has free will, the right to choose their own actions, which will always have their respective consequences (whether good or bad). It’s a guide, not shackles, because during our existence we are constantly redrawing up our agenda.
“Every day is the day to renew our destiny,” says Paiva Netto.
God does not create suffering!
It’s not the Heavenly Father who causes difficulties in our existence. But God does allow suffering—it’s the condition we ourselves chose and created—as a teaching process in which we reap what we sow in this or in other lives.
In fact, suffering is not necessarily the only form of learning. However, because it invites us to rethink our habits and improve our actions, it leads to effective results for our spiritual growth.
In his book Jesus, a Dor e a origem de Sua Autoridade — O Poder do Cristo em nós [Jesus, the Pain and Origin of His Authority — The Power of Christ Within Us], in the subtitle “Pain is the liberation of the Soul,” writer Paiva Netto brings important clarification on the understanding of pain:
“So many people suffer in their earthly existence. But they can benefit from several incarnations as long as this medication is necessary for their evolving Soul. Then, they will receive the eternal reward of a clear conscience because they performed their duty well.
“It is no use running away from Pain. The secret to avoiding it is not to provoke it. How?! By respecting the Divine Law. That is why you need to know it well. This is an exciting and never-ending study.
“Ovid (43 BC-17 or 18 AD) understood the lesson of suffering: ‘Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you.’”
Pain disappears when we finally learn the lesson, because the “spiritual sickness” that afflicted us no longer exists, since we were able to eliminate from us the factors that caused it.
How to turn pain into victory?
Believe that the suffering you are going through will stop! This does not mean that problems will cease to exist, but your posture will change when facing them.
So what should you do not to be defeated by the difficulties you encounter on the way? Follow the example of the Humanity’s Great Friend! Because of His love for Humanity, Jesus underwent the pain of crucifixion (although He did not deserve any suffering), rose from the dead, and won.
This same Christ fraternally warns us:
“By your endurance you will gain your lives.” (The Gospel according to Luke 21:19)
That’s why suicide will never be a solution. On the contrary, it aggravates the problems even more and leads to serious consequences for the spirit, besides having a sad impact on the person left behind. As the late Proclaimer of the Divine Religion, Alziro Zarur (1914-1979), said: “Suicide does not resolve anyone’s anguish.”
By persisting in Goodness (without becoming discouraged by life), you will realize just how much you learned, and how strong you became. This wisdom extends to those who were by your side. This is a lesson that was learned by the Apostle James, who noted in his Epistle 1:12:
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
If you have any question and/or comment about this and other topics, send them to the Religion of the Third Millennium. Let the Ecumenical Spirituality become a part of your life! And if you felt good reading this article, share it! It might touch the heart of other people too.
1 Religion of God, of the Christ, and of the Holy Spirit — also called the Religion of the Third Millennium, and the Religion of Universal Love. This is the Ecumenical Religion of Brazil and the world.