The Problem of Evil and Suffering in Las Vegas and Elsewhere

Words are sadly inadequate as a response to all the recent natural disasters, and this week we had to face the added dimension of human evil in the Las Vegas murders. This isn’t the first time, and won’t be the last, that we who are Jesus-followers either ask or are asked by others, “How can a good and loving God allow such tragedies?”

When tragedies come, our thinking may quickly become confused, even distorted. In this eight-minute video interview with Greg Laurie, I share a perspective on suffering when we’re in the very thick of it.

You cannot resolve the problem of evil and suffering in this lifetime. Present suffering must be seen in light of the promises of God in eternity. Here’s a five-minute video where I explain this further. 

We wonder, “Why doesn’t God do more to restrain evil and suffering?” Severe suffering seems unacceptable to us because we’re unaccustomed to it, and also because we draw wrong conclusions about God. I personally believe God restrains the great majority of evil and suffering that we would have to face in this world without His intervention. Here are further insights in two parts:

Restrain Evil Part 1

Restrain Evil Part 2

Even when the pain seems pointless, we can still learn to trust God.

I appreciated this article from Desiring God: One Day Never Again (May Heaven Fall on Las Vegas)

One late-night television host lamented that “this shooting feels like someone has opened a window into hell.” He’s tapped into at least one truth—the evil prince of darkness certainly had a hand in this tragedy. But God does not turn His back on hurting people. He sees. He knows. When Hagar tried to flee trouble, the Lord spoke to her and she recognized Him as “the God who sees” (Genesis 16:13).

Song-writer Jeremy Camp put it this way: “We may faint and we may sink; Feel the pain and near the brink; But the dark begins to shrink when you find the One who knows…Every hurt and every sting; He has walked the suffering; He knows.”

God’s Word has much to say on suffering because He experienced the greatest suffering imaginable on the cross for you and for me. I can’t think of a better way to end than to share Scripture to meditate on:

"We have suffered terror and pitfalls, ruin and destruction. Streams of tears flow from my eyes because my people are destroyed" (Lamentations 3:47-48).

"I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: 'Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.' You came near when I called you, and you said, 'Do not fear'" (Lamentations 3:55-57).

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted" (Matthew 5:4).

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" (Psalm 147:3).

"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you" (Psalm 56:3).

"Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken" (Psalm 55:22).

"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21).

Further resources that might be helpful:

If God Is Good

90 Days of God’s Goodness

The Goodness of God

If God Is Good, Why Do We Hurt?

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries