Why Does God Allow Temptation, Suffering and Punishment?
God Wants you in heaven
God allows everything for the good of our souls. Therefore temptation, suffering and punishment is allowed for our good. But “how is this so?” we might ask.
By nature we run from the cross–which is anything that causes pain–thinking that is opposed to joy, and without much grace sure temptation, suffering and punishment are quite unwelcomed and not joyful. But when the light of wisdom comes into our lives, we can clearly see that the agony in our lives is the way to Christ’s peace. Oh, what a paradox the cross is but this is the truth. Our Lord, who showed us the Way to Heaven, as He boar much temptation and great suffering. Sadly, from our lack of grace, we don’t really want to follow Christ as we do all we can to avoid discomfort. We want the easy, comfortable life full of fun and pleasure of all sorts. We think that is the life God desires us to have–a life of earthly joy. But oh, that is the trick of the evil one so we live for the world and not God. Sadly, most of us don’t understand the life of the cross and sorrow for our sins, actually leads to greater pleasure than any worldly enjoyment could deliver both on earth and for eternity. God wants us happy loving Him, not the world and He tries to bring us to His Sacred Side through the cross. When God blesses us with enough faith, through grace, we come to understand the cross as the way to Christ. We no longer seek to do all we can to avoid the cross but allow whatever God wills as good and even choose the cross for the salvation of souls.
God Allows Us to be Tempted
God allows us to be tempted to test us in order for us to gain true self-knowledge so we don’t lead a life being deceived thinking we have true faith, when we don’t. If we are tested (tempted) and we pass (don’t fall into temptation – sin) we have the faith we declare or at least, have the grace we need to avoid that sin, but if we fail (fall into the temptation) and sin, God desires us to SEE we still need to work on gaining the grace needed to abolish our desire for that sin. This is how we grow, by looking at our successes and failures against temptation.
God’s children die–go to Hell–because we don’t know the sins we love (choose with no desire to stop) because we cover our sins (choose to not see them); therefore gaining true self-knowledge–coming to know our sinfulness–is invaluable so we don’t walk blindly stay under the power of the evil one, thinking we are “good” and saved when we still love sin over God.
God teaches and refines us (makes us pure) in many different ways. All is done so we can grow in holiness towards Salvation. If we were never tempted, we would never know our lack of faith and need for God. With each failure of our test–our failure to love–we can see ever more clearly our need for grace so we can be all that more motivated to seek God’s merciful help so to one day truly love like Christ has loved–which should be our goal.
Through knowledge and sorrow of our failures to pass God’s test is how we gain humility: knowing one’s true sinfulness. Without humility we have no wisdom and without wisdom, there is no hope for a saving faith. Coming to know ones misery through our failures at the temptations we are allowed to bear is how we grow in humility. Therefore, all–the good and the bad in our life–is allowed for us to grow in humility to obtain Eternal Life.
It is true the devil tempts us, but we must understand God allows it all for the good of our souls. That is way we pray, “lead us not into temptation.” We are asking God to not “led us into a snare” (Psalm 66:10-13)…but only if it is His will. If God wills the temptation, even if after our plea for no temptation, that is what is best for the salvation of our souls. This we don’t have to understand, but we must trust all God allows is for the good of our souls since He loves us. Sometimes God responds to our prayers and takes away the temptation and other times He will lead us right to it. God truly knows what is best temptation and all. Through temptation we see our weakness, our misery still within and open up our soul to receive God’s mercy to change.
“When God intends to grant a man any particular virtue [godly quality], it is His way to let him be tempted to the opposite vice [wickedness]” (St. Philip Neir)
God still wants us to ask for His help to not sin and sometimes from our prayers we will receive the grace needed to not sin. But other times, the grace we received from the prayer isn’t enough or perhaps we rejected all of it. Nonetheless, what is best is for us is falling into sin. Yes, believe it or not, God will even allow us to sin, so we can see our weakness and need for His mercy (grace) even after we asked Him to remove the temptation and stop the sin. Of course God doesn’t want us to sin, but much of the time, if we aren’t opening up our souls enough to receive enough grace to stop, He allows it so we can still our need to change. Again when we sin, we see our lack of grace more clearly and our great need for it. That failure against temptation is supposed to enlighten us to our great sinfulness and need for mercy (grace) so we can run more humbly to God for His help. We simply wouldn’t have any humility, or knowledge of the truth (our lack of faith), if God didn’t allow the temptations. We would walk around thinking we are great, when we are dead because we are blind to so many sins. We need temptation. It is a gift. We see this kind of love through temptation clearly with what God did for His apostle Peter.
Peter refused to see his sinfulness, even with God Himself telling him of his lack of faith–that he would deny Him three times. From Peter’s pride, he simply didn’t have the faith he thought he had. But God, from His wonderful mercy, was so good to Peter and allowed him to be tempted three times to prove to Peter he didn’t have the faith he declared. God allowed temptation for Peter’s good.
The devil deceived Peter and allowed him to covered his sin very well even refused to believe Jesus. Yikes! But after he failed the test and fell into the temptation, Peter gained the humility he needed to see his great need for mercy and how little he really was. He then knew he wasn’t all holy and devout as he thought he was and truly needed God. Peter’s temptation and even the sin, was a wonderful gift from Our Lord. From Peter’s new found humility, because he gained knowledge of the truth about his sinful self, he gained true sorrow for his sins, wonderful forgiveness, wisdom and strength to become the first pope of the Holy Catholic Church. All from the gift of temptation.
“Have a prudent fear of God, and put great trust in me, your God [to guide you to Heaven], knowing for certain that when your mind does not take pleasure in sinful thoughts but struggles against them by detesting them, then they become a purgation and a crown for the soul” (Jesus to St. Bridget of Sweden).
Nonetheless, all we need to understand is that we need to truly trust in God, whatever He allows temptation or anything in life, and never fret over a single trial again, not one event, and surrender our wants, for God wills everything ultimately for our good. We simply need to pray, trust and learn God’s lessons in each circumstance so we can amend our life accordingly and grow towards the path of Life.
“You tested us, O God, tried us as silver tried by fire. You led us into a snare; you bound us at the waist as captives. You let captors set foot on our neck; we went through fire and water; then you led us out to freedom” (Psalm 66:10-13).
The Cross is a Magnificent Gift
“The friends of God suffer in this world in order to receive a lesser punishment in the future or to win a greater crown in heaven” (Jesus to St. Bridget of Sweden).
God’s Church is suffering. His faith He established is as Jesus told to St. Gertrude the Great, “is everywhere threatened with ruin, because there are so few persons who are willing to do or to suffer anything for its support and increase.”
God’s last resort to guide us to the Light is punishment.
“Whoever offers himself willingly to suffer anything in order to please Me, he truly glorifies Me” Jesus to St. Gertrude the Great