I think Buddha asked the same question before he was Buddha and came up with an answer that became Buddhism. I know that many religions have many different answers to this question and they all hold some validity.
Ernest Holmes, the founder of Religious Science, wrote that people suffer because they are ignorant of their true nature. This makes sense to me. Because I don’t know that I am Divine, I make less than Divine choices that lead to me suffering.
However, that wouldn’t hold true for Jesus. He knew he was Divine and suffered a great deal. It is written that he chose that suffering for us. I guess that can make sense, too. Actually, it makes the most sense. We suffer because we choose to.
How do we even know if Jesus did suffer. He might have suffered from a physical standpoint, but did he suffer mentally, spiritually speaking? In Gethsemane he seemed to. Suffering just might be the way of this world. We believe in suffering and he got caught in the trap, too. His mortal outcome was a necessary outcome on this plane of existence for a more divine outcome to take place.
Ernest Holmes also wrote that the world would soon realize that it had learned all it could through suffering, that a new dawn was coming. This statement makes sense to me, too. We suffer because we think we have to in order to live here on planet earth, and soon we will have learned that this is not the real truth.
There are other ways to learn, to grow and to expand. We just haven’t evolved to that point yet, so we continue to suffer. We sometimes, unbeknownst to ourselves even, choose suffering.
Does someone choose a horrendous illness or some catastrophic event like the Holocaust. It’s not like that. I do not believe we choose specific diseases or car accidents or loss of life of any kind, but we do choose to learn, to grow, to expand, even at a subconscious level. It’s our evolution. We seek to be closer to God (whatever we conceive Him, Her or That to be). We seek enlightenment. We seek peace. We desire love. We desire acceptance and forgiveness. All these things, in the present world, at one time or another lead us to suffering.
I heard someone say they learn through pain. I have found in my past that pain took me to the lesson I needed to learn. There is truth in this. I know that the times that I have struggled have been the times that I have sought God in a deeper more profound way because I had no choice. It’s like that old saying, there are no non believers in the foxhole.
However, when will we learn? Ernest Holmes said the time is soon arriving. That was back during the World Wars and the Great Depression.
I think the time is arriving, and I think it will come when we begin to realize that we are worth loving. I think it will come when we love ourselves so much that suffering is not an option. Really, I think the answer is love. It always has been and always will be. When we love ourselves and others unconditionally, suffering will not be able to survive on this planet. It will be rolled up like an old scroll of the past. The future generations will look back on our history, and wonder why those people suffered so much.