When God created man, it was not His intention to subject him to suffering. In fact, He rather kept him in the garden of Eden, which could be described as a sub-region of paradise on planet earth.
He created the first man, Adam and gave him a wife, Eve, to keep him company and be his help-mate. He put them in this garden of sufficiency, Eden, where He had lovingly provided every good thing for them to enjoy.
He had caused various types of food-bearing trees to grow. They were given freedom to take and eat any of them that appealed to them at any time. The trees and shrubs just sprang up at God’s creative command, producing all types of crops and fruits for the man and his wife without their having to till the ground to cultivate any of them. All living creatures were also made subject to them: the fishes in the waters, the birds of the air, the animals in the bushes and forests, including those who crawl on earth. These were all given to man. They could just pick any of them they wanted, kill and eat as they pleased.
All these creatures were made docile and subject to man. He had dominion and authority over all of them. God even gave man power to communicate with these creatures, and also gave these creatures the ability to speak with man, just like He chose to manifest again in Numbers 22:28 of the holy bible when He made Salaam’s Donkey speak with Balaam because He is able to do all things, and nothing is impossible for Him:
When Balaam’s donkey was unable to continue their journey because an angel from heaven had come down at God’s command to block the way for the donkey because God was not in support of that journey, Balaam began to beat the animal. God then gave it the power to speak and the donkey said to its master: “What have I done to you? Why have you beaten me these three times?”
Balaam answered the animal: “Because you have made a fool of me! If I had a sword, I would kill you” The donkey replied, “Am I not the same donkey on which you have ridden all your life? Have I ever treated you like this before?” Then God allowed Balaam to see the angel.
This was how it was also possible for satan to take the form of a snake to disguise himself and communicate with Adam and Eve in order to deceive them and lure them into the sin of disobedience by eating the particular fruit in that garden which God had warned them never to eat. By this act of disobedience suffering was given birth to on this planet. It was not in God’s original plan for us.
Having been introduced into human existence by our first parents, suffering has since grown into a big monster with various tentacles, shapes and dimensions, which we are all witnessing in today’s world.
The sin of Adam and Eve introduced suffering into our world, and since then, sin has continued to introduce it into the lives of individuals, families and nations. Unfortunately for mankind, this monster called sin sometimes operates without boundaries. This means that it does not always limit its operations or attacks to the person who has committed the offence. Sometimes, it even spares the offender or the sinner and hits at others who have one form of relationship or another with the sinner .
That was why King David sinned by ordering a census against the will of God, and God punished his subjects by killing 70,000 of them in one day through an epidemic which made king David complain to the angel who was killing the people: “I am the guilty one. I am the one who did wrong. What have these poor people done? You should punish me and my family”. 2 Samuel 24:15-17. God is a spirit, and his ways are not our ways, the bible makes this very clear in many passages. (Isaiah 55:8-9) It is also for this reason that God reveals in the Bible that He punishes children for sins committed by their parents. And He continues to punish such children up to the 3rd or
4th generation. (Deut. 5:9). This is however only if such children and grand children continue in sin and do not turn from their evil ways and obey God completely and accept Him in practice (not by word of mouth alone) as their Lord. (Ezekiel 18:17-18).
The above story of King David is why the church calls
on us to pray for our leaders since their wrong-doing can affect those they govern and bring various forms of suffering or punishment to us.
Suffering may be mild or severe, physical, mental or emotional. Everybody experiences one form of suffering or the other. Nobody lives and dies without experiencing suffering. Even the very rich suffer. The sinless and holy also suffer.
God’s ways are not our ways. He has allowed us to suffer first before arriving at pleasure. Gold is tested first by burning it in fire before its beauty and value is made manifest. In the same way, we undergo various forms of heating up before enjoying the things of this life or the next life in heaven.
To become a successful and happy engineer, doctor, footballer, businessman, etc, one must undergo stressful and difficult training sessions and exercises which in themselves are forms of suffering. You may
have to sweat, or deny yourself of sleep, rest, comfort etc before achieving success and happiness.
The very rich and powerful also have their own share of suffering. This can come in form of sickness, anger or sadness due to behaviour of those under them. These persons may
be bad children, wives, servants etc. They also suffer emotional disturbances, mental agony and pain from one sickness or the other, and some of these may be prolonged or disgraceful. So, nobody is without suffering at one time or the other in life.