Anyone who would object to the notion of God on the grounds of suffering, should only do so with the knowledge that there exists one religion that conceives of a God who experienced more of that suffering than any other being in the universe, in order to rescue us from it.
If “God” is to be found guilty, then this God must be among those put on trial, as a suffering God is the only God Christians have ever proposed.
These are my indictments
To those who claim to be righteous,
And leave a trail of broken hearts on their way to enlightenment.
But I cant give into hatred or pass judgment,
Even towards every illusion I’ve been in love with.
‘Cause the heart that betrays itself willingly
Is like a nation that trades freedom for stability.
Its so seductive to be cold and corrupted and isolated, trying to be an independent republic.
But liberty, to be loved on the surface is worthless;
The sacrifice of revolution with no purpose.
Take it from a criminal searching for his redemption,
Cursing at God desperately trying to get his attention.
Sometimes you come to a point in life where, unlike other times, you truly struggle to see evidence that God is at work in your life. You go through a season that really doesn’t make sense, where things truly go wrong, and everything is in chaos and ruins. You pray for certain things to happen and they don’t come to pass; you ask God to defeat obstacles, but instead more obstacles come.
You look back to times in the past where you could see God’s answers to prayer. You remember times when your life was a testimony to God’s providence and protection. But now you can’t see it. You look everywhere for the trails of God’s miracle-working power, his sovereignty and order over your life. But everything you see seems chaotic and un-orchestrated – if not orchestrated against you. Your suffering comes from all sides and feels completely senseless.
And you say “God, where are you? Why don’t you show yourself? Don’t you love me?”
It is at this point that you learn something about God’s love. If the evidence I look to to show whether God loves me is that I can see his hand at work in my present life and circumstances, then I am looking in the wrong place.
God showed me more love than I could have asked for when he gave up his Son for me, to die on a cross, to bring me from death to life. God’s present acts of deliverance merely hint towards a truth that was proven once and for all, two thousand years ago. The love God shows me through his answers to my prayers in the present pales in comparison to the extravagance of the love that my Jesus expressed to me when his body was pierced, and crushed, for my sins. How could I question God’s love?
The Cross is how I know that God loves me.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung out and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.
But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation.
The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”
– From The Four Loves Ch.6. ‘Charity’.
Be still, my soul:
when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened
in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know
His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe
thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul:
thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness
all He takes away.