“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials” (1 Peter 1:6 ESV).
How can we rejoice in the midst of various trials? One commentator helps us do so by encouraging us to view our trials from the perspective of eternity…
“…how can an all-powerful, all-loving God allow evil to persist? An ancient form of the problem is sometimes attributed to Epicurus: ‘Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?’
…One important consideration we must consider when evaluating the potentially exculpatory nature of evil is the nature of life, particularly if, as Christians believe, life extends beyond the grave.
Evil and suffering are typically experienced and understood within the context of one’s life. For thirty-five years an atheist, I thought of my life as a ‘line segment’ spanning two points: my birth and my death. I hoped for a life (a ‘line segment’) of approximately ninety years. In the context of this span of time, if I had developed cancer in my forties, I would have been angered by the amount of time stolen from me as I battled the disease. In fact, if I had been diagnosed with a terminal disease at that age, I would have been outraged to be deprived of fifty percent of the life I expected.
If theism is true, however, and we are more than mere material beings, life is not a line segment. Life is, instead, a ray stretching from the point of our birth, passing through the point of our physical death, and extending to an eternal life beyond the grave.
Now consider any experience of evil, pain or suffering in the context of an eternal life… Our experience and understanding of pain and evil must be contextualized within eternity, not within our temporality. Whatever our experience here in our earthly life, no matter how difficult or painful it may be, must be seen through the lens of forever. As our eternal experience stretches beyond our struggles in this life, our temporal suffering will become an ever-shrinking percentage of our consciousness. The anguish we may have experienced on earth will be long outdistanced by the bliss we’ll experience in eternity…
If the Christian worldview is true, evil must be assessed through the lens of eternity, not through the limited perspective of our mortal lives. And eternity changes everything.” (1)
(1) J. Warner Wallace, Can An Understanding of Eternal Life Change the Way We See Evil? Retrieved 28 August 2023 from https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/can-an-understanding-of-eternal-life-change-the-way-we-see-evil/