Why All The Pain and Suffering on Earth?
God does not cause pain and suffering on earth. The devil does. It is the work of the devil, and is getting worse now as the world is becoming more and more spiritually dead. Look on social media, the majority of the young generation has become athiest. They'll mock you if you mention Jesus or the Bible. And even the so called "Christians" today, many are on the verge of spiritual death. This is a sign of fast approaching end times.
You ask, "but why doesn't God stop it? Isn't He in control?" Yes, but this is earth, not heaven. The devil's grip on people keeps them separated from God. Perfection will be in heaven.
If people are not doing the right things towards God, He cannot force Himself on them and intercede in their lives. No matter how much they try, people cannot make God conform to their cultural ways; God expects it the other way around. And if they don't care for God's ways, and want to criticize and veer from His Scripture, He does not care for them either. During our life on earth, Jesus said: "...in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation”, John 16:33. This is because the devil has blinded many people, keeping them in their sins, and preventing them from reconciling with God, and therefore they're not truly "in Jesus" and not "having peace".
Bad Things Are Not "God's plan"!!
When bad things happen, people use terms like "it's God's plan". It is not!! The real problem is, most people (including "Christians") don't really know God. And therefore are not truly with God; they are kept separated from Him by the devil's lies. As a result, God cannot intercede for them to help them! The end result: no peace on earth! The devil deceives in a variety of ways, keeping people in the dark, examples:
When bad things happen the devil tells people "it's God's plan".
Churches and denominations are blinded, and therefore crucially deficient in their teaching. They don't really know God.
Many people consider the Bible full of contradictions - an antiquated book.
The devil makes atheism look so cool. Young generations are flocking there.
Many women (and men indoctrinated) view God as too strict and a male-chauvinist, and are praying to Mary, the female representation in heaven, to intercede for them.
Many so called "Born again"/"saved" people marked the date on the front of their Bible and moved on in life.
So to all "Christians" who are following your church's instructions, if you continue doing these things below, you are not reconciled with God, and are still in your sins. And therefore He cannot bless you nor intercede for you:
Born again, doing nothing keeping it simple... Singing hymns in church on Sundays; not growing spiritually. Likely became spiritually dead.
Praying to God, but also praying to Mary and saints because "it doesn't hurt; the more the merrier". God rejects all of it.
Calvinist - thinking God already decided, and it's not your call it's His. You don't really know God. And therefore He does not know you.
Not seeking God as Jesus instructed in the Sermon on the mount.
Not praying the Lord's prayer daily with the "bread" meaning the body of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins.
Not having genuine love for, or faith in God, always skeptical.
Not having genuine love for all people of all ethnic backgrounds and religions.
"God's plan" is when true believer's ask God for something, and He does not give it to them, but instead He gives them something much better. For the rest of the people on earth, it is a world in random motion - good and bad things happen randomly.
You may ask, but what is the fault of the innocent babies? God is with them. He may not be with you because you're still in your sins, but He is definitely with the babies. If babies die, He takes care of their spirit. But their close relatives mourn and suffer, due to the above lists. We need to stop trying to be gods, and just trust God. He does not have to explain to us every little move He makes! He is the same God who created this universe and all the good things in it, trust Him. Compared to His infinite wisdom and power we are extremely limited in every way; we just trust Him!
So How Do We Turn Things Around?
Seek God always, by reading the Bible. If all you do is go to church as in doing your spiritual homework, you're on the wrong path.
Pray the Lord's Prayer daily for worshiping God, and for the forgiveness of your sins through the "bread", the body of Jesus.
Love - genuinely love, believe in, and worship God. And genuinely love all people.
Then God will pour out His blessings on you and your family, protect you and yours in every turn of life on earth, and give you eternal life. Jesus said the same thing, in other words, in Luke:
Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent you too will all perish.”
Notes: Jesus here talked about "if you don't repent, then you too will suffer..." Which also means if you do repent, as in get right with God, then you will not suffer these things on earth anymore. The other important point here is if a group of people is suffering, it does not mean that they are worse sinners than you! Each of us needs to look at themselves, and make sure we are genuinely right with God. Not "right with God" by our definition, but by His. What is His definition of right? Keep reading the Bible.
The more people move away from God, the worse things become on earth, as we are witnessing now. This is consistent with end times scripture:
6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
Notes: "the beginning of birth pains" as in, things will gradually keep getting worse. Jesus said this, because He knew there will come a time when the majority of people will become unbelievers, or fake believers.
The coming of the Messiah did establish a way to peace on earth. But only a few found it! Which is consistent with what Jesus said here:
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
God Disciplines the Ones He Loves
There are situations where God pokes true-believers to get their attention because they're veering from the right path. The disciplining may be viewed as bad things in life; these are usually material losses or psychological distress. God would never annihilate the person He loves, only poke them to get their attention. From many verses in the Bible like the ones below it clearly describes a disciplining act, not totally destroying the person.
for the Lord disciplines the one he loves and punishes every son he receives. Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline—which all receive—then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had human fathers discipline us, and we respected them. Shouldn’t we submit even more to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time based on what seemed good to them, but he does it for our benefit, so that we can share his holiness. No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on however, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, as does a father the son in whom he delights.
In the case of a true believer, the disciplining would be mostly non-physical harm - either material or psychological stress. They would range from annoyances to painful-living-conditions. So what does that mean? God tightens the pressure on the person He loves to get them to change their ways. If the person ignores the pressure, God tightens more until they do. Then as soon as the person realizes what they're doing wrong and fixes their ways, God removes the pressure, and the person's life becomes more normal.
There are many ways God uses to get the believer's attention. God is very creative with these, He usually customizes them to the person's life circumstances. Here are some examples to give you an idea of what triggers discipline, and how:
If a true believer is not praying the Lord's Prayer daily, this would be one reason for God to discipline this person. You say that's many believers today. Correct, this is why many believers are experiencing problems in their lives. God knows our intentions towards Him, and pokes us accordingly.
Another example, if a true believer is not behaving properly. Attending public events that are obviously detestable to God, or joking about things in the Bible, or laughing along with those mocking things from the Bible, would trigger chastisement from God.
Some examples of methods God uses to discipline us; to get our attention. If a person, for example, is in a car accident, which could range from a fender-bender to a complete car destruction, and they [the person and his family] walk away unharmed, it could be God getting their attention. The loss is material and annoying yes, but a genuine believer should consider the possibility of God trying to get their attention. They should pray to God - first thank Him for their safety, then ask Him to give them enlightenment on what He wants from them. This is one example of this. Other examples may be, little annoying things regularly happening daily for example. These would be the start of God's pressure. One should heed answers from God before the pressure increases. How do I know these things? Many stories in the Bible show how God worked with believers. Take Jonah's story for example. God told Jonah to do something, he didn't. Then God caused the storm, and Jonah be thrown out of the ship, then be swallowed by a fish. It was only when Jonah prayed to God and asked for forgiveness that the fish spit him out, alive. Perfect example. Jonah a true believer disobeyed God. God exerted pressure on him. Jonah repented and asked for forgiveness. Then God removed the pressure. And Jonah went to Nineveh and preached as God had asked him to.
Why Does God Allow the Un-Godly to Prosper?
We all see this in the world, and there are many references in the Bible questioning it. But no clear answer from the Bible.
Righteous are You, O Lord, that I would plead my case with You; Indeed I would discuss matters of justice with You: Why has the way of the wicked prospered? Why are all those who deal in treachery at ease?
My perspective based on some verses like the ones below, is that God has His ways of shaking the world back and forth to separate the seed from the chaff and determine who truly loves Him. He does that by various methods including giving riches to the un-Godly. We should be careful not to fall in the riches trap nor let it affect our spiritual decisions. As we all know financial riches do not necessarily mean real happiness anyway.
The seed sown among the thorns is the one who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.