We struggle to wrap our arms around the tragedies of this world. It is a paradox that we live in. How can a loving God allow such deep pain and sorrow? If God cares, why does He seem despondent?
But one must not look far into the pages of Scripture for an answer. We see stories of murder, injustice, persecution, wandering Israelites, slave-ridden people, infertility, death, self-righteous religious zealots…and yes, strife amongst family and friends. We read of wars, floods, storms, drought, deserts, and wilderness…with which we all can find some familiarity. Although these stories of old were written in years past, we cannot ignore the common ground. Suffering is a part of life and we should not be surprised when we fall upon it.
It remains a mystery why we must endure hardship and pain while here on this earth, knowing full well that God is able to put an end to it. A sovereign God, who rules on High. A heaven with no pain or sorrow. With hope, we press on with our eyes lifted upward. We know our struggles are not eternal.
This light and momentary affliction is achieving for us an eternal glory, that far outweighs them all. 2 Cor. 5:7
Remember, you are not alone in your suffering. Others before you have suffered too, and are encouraging you to keep going. A great cloud of witnesses are cheering you on, urging you to make it to the finish. Maybe today you can relate to King David whose anguish is apparent in Psalm 22. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? Oh my God, I cry out by day but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed. But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: ‘He trusts in the Lord; let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him since he delights in him.”
Nearly a millennium later, God answers David’s plea. He sends His Son, a suffering Savior, to be nailed to a tree. He was killed on a hill called Calvary. Rejected. Shamed. and Humiliated. Bearing the sin of this entire world. His feet and hands pierced for our iniquities. We hear Jesus cry out to God with the same words as his forefather David, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Making it clear, we are never alone in our moment of dire circumstance.
No one suffered as much as Jesus. He bore our sin. Our shame. And took our place. Enduring hunger, thirst, pain, rejection, beatings, nakedness, temptation, loneliness, mockery, bereavement, poverty…nothing shy of utter humiliation. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords endured all this for you, simply because He wanted to. When it looks like this world is spiralling out of control, we must remind ourselves that God always is working things together for our good. (Rom. 8:28). In His divine providence, He is working.
Bringing our sin to the surface.
Scraping off superficiality.
Accomplishing a greater purpose.
At the cross, God’s justice was made complete. When asked if God cares about our pain and suffering, we can look to the cross and resolutely say, “That much…that much is how much God cares.” He took my burdens upon Himself. He came here to bear my shame. By keeping my gaze fixed on the cross, my worldview becomes transformed. The only way I can make sense of the evil and suffering in this world is by looking to God who gave up everything to make it all right again.