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Suffering and the Love of God

What is so endlessly fascinating about God is that despite all the suffering on earth, there is a gentleness and love that also runs through all His ways. After all, according to the Bible, He is the God who gave His only begotten Son for human salvation- when He surely could have thought up all manner of ways to achieve that same end result. The gift of His Son was to demonstrate His love for us, publically displayed for all time. And there is a beauty in His creation which becomes the more exquisite the closer we look. He is the God who gave Israel the law of Moses, which reflects His intense awareness and sensitivity towards His people. The oxen were allowed to eat some of the grain they were treading out. There was deep sensitivity to every human situation. And supremely, the manifestation of God in His Son reveals just how much He does in fact care.

In seeking some window onto the suffering question, I opened my Bible at random. I came to Rom. 5:20: “Now the law was added to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace increased all the more”. Pretty complicated theology, Paul talking about why the Law of Moses was given. My mind wandered to a similar statement in Gal. 3:19: “For what, then, was the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the seed should come to whom the promise had been made”. But I assumed I had come to an irrelevant verse, and ought to flick on a bit further to some more promising part of the Bible which spoke more directly to my questions. But something made me stay on that track of thinking. Why was the Law of Moses given? A law, which was never fully obeyed by anyone apart from the Lord Jesus and which led people to desperation at their inability to obey. But why? It drives the question a stage further back: Why did God allow sin- the whole concept of disobedience, reconciliation and forgiveness? Why not just create us as good, or leave us to just strive for various levels of goodness? And like a wave bursting over me, I at least saw and felt something of the bigger picture here. His love, forgiveness, grace, patience… our repentance, stumbling, indescribable sorrow, guilt, anger, gratitude, unanswered questions, indignation at God, sin, the passion of zeal to respond to such love which we never deserved, our earnest desire for Him, our desperate need for and attraction to His Son as our Saviour, the tears and joy which go with restored relationship… and so much else. All this would just not be possible if He had created us as some kind of good robots, without the possibility of failure and all the suffering which comes with it. He is love, forgiveness is what He is good at, and He thirsts for genuine, authentic relationship with us. In the end, we will see that it had to have been this way. And the final outcome will be exquisite.




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