Your Ideas

Everyone has their own experiences of suffering, and their understanding of it within the context of God. Have a read of others' views here. You can email your views to info [@] carelinks.net and we will consider adding them

 

 

     

 

  1. The Answer of the Cross

The cross puts a perspective on why God allows human suffering. It certainly isn’t because He is mean or nasty. A God like that would not have given His Son, let alone in the way that He did. There is in secular man a search for love; ‘Can I find love in this world?’ is the haunting question, repeated in music and every art form, and finding expression both verbalized and subconsciously in every human life. And the cross of Christ is the answer. The fact this supreme expression of Divine love was made within such extreme suffering, both physical and mental, is surely God’s way of saying that He is no stranger to suffering and has fully participated in our pain. We are called to not simply accept that 2000 years ago, on a hill outside Jerusalem, on a day in April, on a Friday afternoon… this actually happened. But to further participate in Him there. We are invited to know and have the mind of Christ there (Phil. 2:5). To be baptized into Him, to abide in Him, to go through the same stages of His progressive humiliation, that we might share in His eternal glorification (Phil. 2:5-8). He there is God beckoning to us, we in this world of suffering, we who alone know the pain of our own hearts… to find love, love to be experienced and lived out within our suffering world, within the suffering of our own minds and bodies. He there… re-phrases the question of ‘Why me?’ to ‘Why Him?’. Why would the only sinless, guiltless man, who only ever did good… have to die, and to die that death? He there was and is our representative; not a substitute for our suffering [for why then should we now suffer?], but our representative.


He had our nature, knew our pain, our hunger, to the end. It was love for us, the love that seeks to identify and empathize with the beloved, that held Him there to that stake of wood- and not the nails. Someone, somewhere, knows all about your sufferings, and the suffering of this world. Maybe you are right in feeling that there is nobody on this earth who can understand what you have passed through; even if they sat and listened to you telling your story for a month, paid attention and agreed and sympathized… you would still feel they could not quite feel it all for you. And… there were bits you forgot, aspects you didn’t express well, parts you misremembered. But there is someone, now, who does completely understand- the Lord Jesus, the Man who suffered and died as He did for you. Whatever our questions about suffering and why God permits it, the gift of God’s Son overarches those struggles with the fact that God is love. And He has demonstrated that. It’s not that on one hand He loves us, but on another hand He doesn’t, and we are to come to some synthesis of the positions. No. God is love. Somehow, all the suffering works together for the final good of His purpose, which is centred around love. We do not now understand the how; but that is our limitation.


To expect to understand it all is, frankly, immature; and carries the deep inappropriateness which at times goes with immaturity. Such a demand assumes we are more than human- when we are not. In the cross of Christ, God was with us; Emmanuel. Man is not alone; you are not alone, I am not alone. God is with us. Because His Son knew exactly our human condition, and identified with all its pain through being nailed to a cross, naked, despised, rejected, forsaken by all; He who there ‘learned obedience through what He suffered’ (Heb. 5:8). That is for all time a statement of His humanity, how He was not God, not part of a Trinity or other mistaken human philosophy. He was one of us; and again, He there for all time showed that suffering has a purpose- once we bring into view God Himself, human sin and mortality, Divine grace, salvation and the things of God’s Kingdom.

 


 

 

 

 

© 2016 Duncan Heaster
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Contact Duncan at dh [@] heaster.org . An outreach of Carelinks Christadelphian Ministries