Why Do We Suffer?

I woke up early this morning with a lot on my mind.  Not the usual, what do I have to do today? But, why have I been so blessed?  When I think back on my life I have had many incredible experiences.  I have experienced heart brake as well as great joy.  I have seen much of the beauty in the world as well as witnessed the confusion and ugliness that some would have you believe is the excepted normalcy of life.  I reject that.  I choose to see the beauty.

One of the things I have learned is how the negative hardships we endure in life are often the greatest blessings the Lord can give us.  I think back on my experience loosing a brother to cancer; failing to reach a goal which seemed important at the time; struggling to make enough money; finding out I would have children with disabilities; and many more.  I marvel when I consider those whose challenges seem so far beyond my own.  Life is hard.  But looking back I can see the incredible blessings of God in these trials.  I have learned to know God through the passing of a loved one; I learned that had particular goals been achieved my current blessings would not exist; the years I struggled financially were some of my most joyful; and my children with disabilities have taught me more about love than humanly possible.

I know that every human being is a child of God.  We are His children and by that token we are important to Him.  I hear those who say, “How can a God exist who allows people to suffer?  I would never worship such a God.” They do not know the nature of God.

I know Heavenly Father is real and that He cares about us.  As a parent loves a child He cares for every single member of the human family.  He is not the kind of parent who coerces or forces us to do His will.  He softly whispers, “Come unto me and let me help you.”  The big confusion is why do people suffer?  I believe it is because through struggle we learn to feel joy.  This life is where we learn what true happiness is.  “For God so loved the world that He sent his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 

No person likes suffering.  How does a parent feel when they take there child to the dentist?  They know it will be hard on the child, but for the greater good they allow it.  People suffer in different ways.  Some make choices that lead to broken hearts or even hurting themselves.  Others, by no fault of their own, are the recipients of terrible suffering.  But why would God allow such things?

Our lives are but a dream.  Heard that before?  Some day each of us must return to our Creator, our Eternal Father.  When we look back on our lives what will we have learned?  I believe that our lives will stand as a monument for the eternities.  What will matter in the hereafter will not be how much money we made; how big a house we have; or what kind of great position we have in the public eye.  What will matter is how much did you SACRIFICE.  How much did you learn to LOVE.  How much did you have to SUFFER This is what will sit on the alter of God to last through the eternities.  This is why God loves us so much.  Every soul is of great worth.  I plan to do a painting next year to address this subject.  I will call it “Unsung Heroes.”  It will focus on the incredible sacrifices of millions of every day people.  I hope you will find joy this day in the blessings God has given you and remember that He is watching over you and He truly loves you.

Jon McNaughton


  1. What a beautiful post and a wonderful image--the Good Shepherd is one of my favorite ones of Jesus.

    It's so true that when you suffer, you do find joy. What's more, I've found that when you unite your sufferings to Christ's, you find that inner peace and happiness that cannot otherwise be found.

  2. I LOVE this! I appreciate that you take time to put words to your beautiful work.

  3. Thank you Jon, just what I needed to hear today. Bless you. I have also recently done a painting of the bride that gets formed through suffering.
    René Snyman

  4. Am glad to visit McNaughton Fine Art! He teaches as well. It is very unique to see all different subject in his paintings by his insight of viewing with: Love, Hate and No Clue at all. I personally like his art in every detail. Great work!

  5. You have the power to touch so many lives, Jon as you have touched mine. Thank you for sharing your testimony. It strengthens me. I too have gone through hardships (many we have shared together) and I feel that through every hardship I have become a stronger person and that I know that my Savior loves me and that he has been there for me every single time. Those are the times where He has carried me for we are never alone. I am so grateful to have you as my brother. I am so proud of you Jon. I love you!

  6. What perfection you wrote. Thank you for sharing and for all that you do.

  7. My dear son, You write so beautifully and with such power and humility.
    We have gone through some of these trials together and some you have had to go through on your own. Always I wanted to help. How I wanted to take away every sad moment. Now I can see that would not have been good for your eternal growth and joy. Still, it is hard to watch someone you love go through hard times. You are a leader and an inspiration to your family, who love you very much. Don't ever give up the fight. Those you love are with you, always...

  8. My late husband said he was the black sheep of his family. He would have loved this painting. Even though he had done some things wrong in his life, he felt the Savior still loved him.
    Thank you for sharing such beautiful paintings and for your feelings about why you painted them.