“Why is there so much pain and suffering in the world?” a disciple asked his mentor.
“And why doesn’t God do something about it?”
“Let me tell you a story about the silent school,” the sage responded. “Its pupils
were boisterous, loving to frolic and explore. Whether playing sport or practical jokes,
their lives were dynamic.
“Although they enjoyed freedom and independence, it came at a cost. Loud
voices, for example, engendered sore throats. Practical jokes often backfired. And sport
sometimes resulted in bumps and bruises, even broken bones.
“As it happened, one day a new headmaster arrived. He imposed a strict set of
rules, forbidding students to joke, play sports, make noise and so on. They were no longer
allowed to do the things that were a part of being human.
“The new rules transformed the school, emptying the sickbay. There was an eerie
silence. The headmaster was thrilled. But then the students started to become lethargic
and ill. Their sickness could not be healed.
“Why do we have pain and suffering in the world? Because we inadvertently
create it every time we make poor choices. Why doesn’t God stop pain and suffering?
Because doing so would restrict our free will.”
The sage leaned forward on his chair. “To reduce pain and suffering, choose
wisely in life. Choose acts of love.”
Pain and suffering exist as a by-product of choice. Choices create
consequences. To restrict choice is to restrict freedom.