It was these who long ago lived in disobedience while God waited patiently as Noah was building the ark. I Peter 3: 20a
It’s a question as old as Eden. Why is there suffering in the world if God is loving and all-powerful?
It’s one unbelievers ask. It’s one believers ask in dark days. When unbelievers ask, they may be looking to justify their unbelief. When believers ask, perhaps they don’t see God’s hand in their circumstances.
Everyone suffers in life. My suffering may be more or less than yours. It isn’t fair, of course. But how you respond to your greater suffering may inspire me to deal with mine better.
Through our own suffering, we learn to care for others who hurt.
And there’s another question we forget to ask. Last Sunday, the guest speaker at my church asked it. He said it isn’t that God is helpless or uncaring.
But instead of asking why He allows suffering we should ask: “Why does a just and holy God allow us to experience any blessing whatsoever? How does a just and holy God allow us to experience anything other than the suffering we deserve?”
We can imagine the world without suffering. We can imagine that no children would be abused or hungry. It would be fair.
But we would also have to be able to imagine a world without sin.
And when we imagine God to be far away and unaware of our suffering, we forget His suffering. God the Father gave His Son. God the Son gave His life. And He gave it up in two forms of agony.
There was the physical suffering of the cross. Film depictions of the crucifixion fail to capture the reality of that suffering. But there was also the suffering of having His Father turn away from Him.
It was suffering He did not deserve. It wasn’t fair. And He chose to suffer because He loves so much.
When we look at the suffering of this world, we are here to proclaim His suffering for us and to, on His behalf, relieve the suffering of others.
And when we have the blessings of health, daily provision, sunshine, family, and any degree of comfort–if we ever had any of those blessings–if they are no longer ours, we can still be in awe of their source.
They are not what we deserve.
Photo Credit: Chris M. Moore freelyphotos.com
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