For a good portion of my life, I shared the perspective of those who rail against God for allowing pain. I could find no way to rationalize a world as toxic as this one.

As I visited people whose pain far exceeded my own, though, I was surprised by its effects. Suffering seemed as likely to reinforce faith as to sow doubt.

My anger about pain has melted mostly for one reason: I have come to know God. He has given me joy and love and happiness and goodness. It leaves me with faith in a Person, a faith so solid that no amount of suffering can erode it.

Where is God when it hurts? He has been there from the beginning. He designed a pain system that, in the midst of a fallen world, bears His stamp. He transforms pain, using it to teach and strengthen us if we allow it to turn us toward Him.

He has hurt and bled and cried and suffered. He has dignified for all time those who suffer, by sharing their pain. But one day He will gather the armies of heaven and will unleash them against the enemies of God. The world will see one last terrifying moment of suffering before the full victory is ushered in. Then God will create for us a new, incredible world. And pain will be no more (Rev. 19:11–22:6).