Why does God allow suffering to happen to good people? I have been asking myself this question a lot more than usual lately. I haven't completely come up with an answer, but I have found some stuff I really like...
From the talk, "That They Might Know Thee" October 2006, Keith R. Edwards;
"And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men.”
The great and exquisite suffering of the Savior was for us, to keep us from having to suffer as He suffered. However, suffering is a part of life, and few will escape its grasp. Since it is something that each of us has gone through, is going through, or will go through, there is scriptural suggestion that we can learn spiritual lessons if we can approach suffering, sorrow, or grief with a focus on Christ. Anciently Paul wrote that our suffering may give us an opportunity to know the Savior better. Paul wrote to the Romans:
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
Now, lest anyone go looking for hardship and suffering, that is not what is taught. Rather, it is the attitude with which we approach our hardships and trials that allows us to know the Savior better.
Although the purpose of the suffering is not always apparent at the time, the Prophet Joseph had a singularly spiritual experience as he lingered in Liberty Jail. The Lord comforted him:
“My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
“And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.”
“Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
“The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?”
As we are called upon to endure suffering, sometimes inflicted upon us intentionally or negligently, we are put in a unique position—if we choose, we may be allowed to have new awareness of the suffering of the Son of God. While Alma tells us that Christ suffered all that any of us will ever have to suffer that He might know how to succor us, the reverse may also be true: that our suffering may allow us insight into the depth and magnitude of His atoning sacrifice.
We all can learn from our suffering "if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” We suffer to know Christ better. To become better.
From the talk, "Your Sorrows Shall Be Turned to Joy" October 1983, Robert D. Hales;
[Our] suffering in mortality will bring a greater appreciation of the blessings of a resurrected, perfect body. Also, our joy of service in helping [others] in time of need brings us a greater appreciation for one another. We are told that out of suffering, sorrow, and sadness that joy will come. Sometimes we cannot understand that mortal suffering can bring eternal blessings.
When Joseph Smith was in Liberty Jail, he cried to the Lord for comfort, and the Lord gave it to him. He said that “if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” (D&C 122:7.)
Suffering is universal; how we react to suffering is individual. Suffering can take us one of two ways. It can be a strengthening and purifying experience combined with faith, or it can be a destructive force in our lives if we do not have the faith in the Lord’s atoning sacrifice. The purpose of suffering, however, is to build and strengthen us. We learn obedience by the things we suffer. We should be humbled and drawn to the Lord.
The Lord knows and loves us. He wants us to fulfil his plan. The simple fact is that part of the plan is to understand what Christ went through so we can access His atonement. I am so grateful that I have trials. I don't love my trials, but I love what comes from my trials. God is good!!