I recently spent some time checking out various Xtian websites trying to get a grasp of how theists rationalize misfortune, tragedy, and suffering in their personal lives. According to most of these sites this is one of the biggest unanswered questions that believers in god(s) are faced with. Most say it is "not our place" to try and understand or question the motives of god.
The Church of Christ (a Protestant American denomination) offers the following:
" 5. Some suffering is educational. (See James 1.2-3; Romans 5.3-5.) Suffering confers spiritual insight; it can teach us patience and can build character and strength. It can prepare us for greater service. It can knock a lot of nonsense out of us! Illness, for example, may lead us to see things in a clearer light than we ever did when we were going through life without a care! Troubles are the tools that God uses to fashion us for better things."
Hold on! It's educational - we can learn from our travails and become smarter. Neato! -Sarcasm-
" 6. Some suffering is therapeutic. It may make us better people; it may lead us to repentance; it may discipline us spiritually. " It is good for me that l have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes." (Psalm 119.71; see Hebrews 12.6-11.) God may permit suffering for the sake of our spiritual health and well-being!"
Therapy and education both! Wow, this is fantastic. -more sarcasm-
The very idea that a church would even consider offering such irrational excuses as being plausible and having merit is beyond my understanding. As a thinking being I find these weak arguments totally unacceptable.
"There is so much we do not know. Suffering is beyond our fullest comprehension."
I fully understand suffering. Life is not always fair and misfortune happens to everyone. We can't win the lottery everyday. My uncle backed over his 4 year old daughter years ago in his driveway one morning. She did not survive. That incident unfortunately affected his psychological well being for the remainder of his life. He was never the same person again. He and his spouse also both gave up their religious beliefs. He would certainly argue that suffering is NOT therapeutic or educational.