intellectually it has always made sense to me first, that basically God doesn't owe me anything, second, that the world simply isn't as it should be and hasn't been since Gen 3, and third, that God will truly rectify and correct everything at the last day. These have helped me understand that i haven't been robbed by God (since He didn't owe X to me anyway), the entire world is amiss, not just the particular instance in my life (since the world is fallen and cursed), and i should hope in the redemption that is to come and stop trying to get God to make things perfect right this second (what, then would be the point of Jesus' return?).
as intellectually sound and digestable as all that may be, there's still, i think, an emotional or relational problem of suffering, isn't there? It's not that i'm doubting God's existence due to evil in the world, and it's not even that i'm doubting whether goodness is truly an attribute of His character, but rather i'm experiencing a relational sort of confusion.
Consider the idea of a dog that just can't comprehend why it's master just hit it with a rolled up newspaper. The owner may have a reason (maybe the owner only just now found something the dog chewed up several hours ago), but in this case the dog can't comprehend the reason, and more to the point, the dog is relationally confused as to why his master, a master that he loves and adores and who plays with him and gives him food, water, and shelter--the dog can't grasp why such an owner would now inflict pain or harm. How is the dog supposed to wag its tail and be happy and run *toward* a master that's currently smacking him with a newspaper?
On paper and in philosophy classes, i really haven't ever seen that the problem of suffering is much of a problem at all (and in fact, i think, raises more problems for the anti-theist than for the theist). But as a Christian, i'm not sure i know what to say about the relational issue. Just recently, someone has deeply and horrifically wronged both me and my son. i understand that doesn't mean God doesn't exist. and i understand it doesn't mean that God isn't good. i also understand that it doesn't mean that God doesn't care about me and what i'm going through. i don't have any sort of anti-theistic, intellectual leanings due to my current suffering. Nevertheless, it's very hard to sort out emotionally how to relate with the same affection or openness to a sovereign God Who's currently beating us with a newspaper or has, at least, allowed someone else to do so.
What do you think about this particular problem of suffering?