The God Who Suffers

Our world is suffering. People are dying (though that’s nothing new). People are dying alone. Our region hasn’t seen the “newsworthy” tragedy seen in other parts of the nation and world. But our tragedies are still just as real. We’re suffering loneliness and fear as many are forced to sit at home alone and wonder what’s coming. Many wonder if their jobs will still exist in another month or year. And, of course, we still have all of our typical death, illness, hardship, and stress.

Where is God in all this? Why does he allow such evil?

God is still on his throne, where he sets limits to every evil. He still says to the sea, “Thus far you shall come, and no farther” (Job 38:11). Our struggle is that we don’t see the precise boundaries God has set for all the evils of this world. And wherever those boundaries are, we would like them to be farther away from us. Whenever some evil reaches us, we don’t know why it reached us, instead of some other person. All we can really say is that all evil, pain, suffering, sin, and death is the result of the fall into sin. But that doesn’t explain our individual suffering, and it doesn’t fix anything.

Here’s what we know: God is not distant from our suffering. He does not sit idly in the heavens, observing from afar. He came down into our suffering, sin, and death. He took on human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, so that he might suffer evil and death for our sake. He is not distant. He is near. He became one of us. He joined himself to us in our suffering. And, by Christian Baptism, he joins us to his own death and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-5). In his death we find the sure and certain hope that our sins are forgiven. And in his resurrection we have the guarantee that we will also be raised and transformed into his perfect image. This is God’s answer to our suffering: to suffer with us and for us.

The peace of Christ be with you all,

Pastor Dan