I can’t help agreeing with Bart Ehrman, even though I’m reluctant to take lessons in theology and the Bible from agnostics who do not believe in Jesus’ resurrection, when he says:
“Even if we cannot, in the end, know the reasons for suffering, we can at the least have appropriate responses to it. We ourselves can feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked; we can work to solve problems of poverty; we can give money to agencies finding cures for cancer and AIDS; we can volunteer more often locally; we can give more to international relief efforts. We can, in fact, fulfill the urgent demands implicit in Matthew’s account of the judgment between the sheep and the goats, for ‘as you have done this to the least of these, my brothers and sisters, you have done it unto me.'”
The last quote I want to share comes from Bart Ehrman’s theological sparing partner N. T. Wright:
“I don’t think much of the Bible is actually addressing the question, ‘Why is there suffering?’, but rather the question, ‘What is God doing about it?’”
Wright’s answer involves Abraham, the first coming of Jesus, the Resurrection of Jesus, the second coming of Jesus and all of God’s plan of salvation. I would encourage you to read the entire post.
And a final passage from that same post:
“The other side of the coin of ‘the problem of evil’ is, after all, ‘the problem of good’: if there is no God, no good and wise creator, why is there an impulse to justice and mercy so deep within us? Why is there beauty, love, laughter, friendship, joy? How do you then tell the difference between Ecclesiastes and Sartre?”
The “problem of good” is a theoretical problem not for Christians, of course; but for atheists and agnostics.