"To ask why we suffer makes the questioner appear either terribly foolish or extremely arrogant. It seems foolish to ask, since in fact we do suffer and no sufficient reason can be given to explain that fact. Indeed, if it were explained, suffering would be denied some of its power. The question seems arrogant because it seeks to put us in the position of eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Only God knows the answer to such questions."
- Stanley Hauerwas, "Should Suffering Be Eliminated?" in The Hauerwas Reader, 565.
Hauerwas goes on to say that it is also a question that can't be avoided and ought to be asked. Yet it seems to me that some accounts of providence may illegitimately remove the sting of this question by attempting to give just such an answer. When a sufferer asks the "why" question and our answer seeks a response along the lines of "Oh, I see now why this and all suffering is justified and necessary", then we have removed all room for the strong scriptural theme (and healthy, indeed necessary, human practice) of lament. If we become so content with the present that we are not groaning for a healed world, then perhaps we have silenced the Spirit who groans with us.