The Good News of Suffering

The Good News of Suffering

While I often begin my posts with a sarcastic or humorous introduction, this post is unfortunately a little different. Like many people, I have recently been disturbed by some of the news trending in the U.S and around the world. I must admit, I normally don’t follow the news too closely. I don’t watch it on television (in fact I don’t even have cable), and I don’t read articles or watch videos on the internet. Within the past several weeks however, I have nonetheless felt the fierce grasp of evil clenching its ugly fist around the globe. It seems overwhelming, even for a guy who hardly watches the news. To put things bluntly, people are suffering. Many are dying.

So where does that leave us? What are we to think? Some have acted out in anger. Some have responded in love. Others have ignored the situation, choosing not to get involved, while still others have vigorously immersed themselves in the day to day happenings. Which is the correct response? I simply do not have an answer. Nevertheless, I do think that our perspective of suffering is important, and it is on this topic that I would like to share a few thoughts. For the most part, our actions are predicated on our perspective, so I encourage everyone to think through these things on your own. Although there is much more to say, here are just two basic points that will hopefully help us as we wrestle not only with the idea of suffering, but more importantly with the God who would allow it:

1.) Suffering points us to what is good. It seems almost undeniable that there is something inherently wrong with suffering and death. Hopefully any rational person would agree. This is evidenced to us by a moral conscience. However, this should produce in us much more than simple “right” and “wrong” labels. More importantly, it is given to us in order to lead us to what is good. In other words, God gave us consciences as a built in mechanism to bring us to Him. We can recognize evil, detest it, and strive for the opposite. Seeing that the world is evil should not have us question God, but rather to run to Him.

2.) Jesus Suffered. The Christian God is not one who sits back and watches His creation suffer. Rather, we have a God who entered into our suffering, who experienced death. Our God sympathizes with us, because He has felt what we do. His hands and feet are forever scarred because of it. But by His death we have life. He transformed the worst of this world into a road for the next. That is why we can have hope in suffering.  – Perhaps we could indeed question a God who apathetically sits back while people suffer, but can we really question a God who provides a perfect hope through suffering Himself?

Despite what our own personal response should be to the suffering in the world and the happenings around the globe, it is my prayer that we see it as an opportunity. Let’s use these events to point people to what is good. Show them the deep need for God in our world, and uplift them with this: that God hears our cry because he came to suffer Himself.

You see, at the heart of the Gospel is suffering. And with evil pressing down on us, perhaps there is no better time to tell people about our glorious Savior.

After all, that is news worth hearing – Good News.

“When he sees all that is accomplished by his suffering, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.” – Isaiah 53:11

Seeing that the world is evil should not have us question God, but rather to run to Him.

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Russ Allen

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