Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Why does God allow suffering?

Many people often ask the question:  How does a good God allow so much suffering?

Luther wrote: "He who does not know Christ does not know God hidden in suffering.  Therefore he prefers works to suffering, glory to the cross, strength to weakness, wisdom to folly, and  in general, good to evil.  These are the people whom the apostle calls "enemies of the cross of Christ" [Phil 3:8], for they hate the cross and suffering and love works and the glory of works.  Thus they call the good of the cross evil and the evil of a deed good."

As humans, we seem to think we understand when something is "good" or "bad/evil."  But then we see our God hanging on a cross, tortured beyond recognition, and publicly humiliated before everyone.  As Christians we call this day, "Good Friday."  But it seems like total defeat.  Total shame.  Total failure.  Already we must realize that we don't understand the first thing about suffering, but we can be certain about one thing...

God has only revealed Himself to us in the suffering and death of His Son.  Christ has suffered everything that everyone has ever suffered.  He does not desire suffering any more than any of us, but His passion for our salvation, His deep compassion, His undying love compells Him to endure it on our behalf.  His cross brings meaning to our suffering.  It brings purpose.  Value.  And when that final day comes - it will bring glory.

God brings immeasurably more salvation through His suffering than His glory, and the same is true of our suffering.  Why does God allow suffering?  Because He is able to use our temporary suffering for eternal good.  Thanks be to God. 

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