When we lock our eyes on our cancer, arthritis, fibromyalgia, diabetes, or disability, self-pity and bitterness can creep in. When we spend our days rehearsing the tragic death of a loved one, we will interpret all life through the darkness of our suffering. How much better when we focus upon Jesus!
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus... who for the joy set before him endured the cross.” The following verse commands us, “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:2–3).
However great our suffering, his was far greater. If you feel angry at God, what price would you have him pay for his failure to do more for people facing suffering and evil? Would you inflict capital punishment on him? You’re too late. No matter how bitter we feel toward God, could any of us come up with a punishment worse than what God chose to inflict upon himself?
Tim Keller writes,
If we again ask the question: “Why does God allow evil and suffering to continue?” and we look at the cross of Jesus, we still do not know what the answer is. However, we know what the answer isn’t. It can’t be that he doesn’t love us. It can’t be that he is indifferent or detached from our condition. God takes our misery and suffering so seriously that he was willing to take it on himself.... So, if we embrace the Christian teaching that Jesus is God and that he went to the Cross, then we have deep consolation and strength to face the brutal realities of life on earth.
If you know Jesus, then the hand holding yours bears the calluses of a carpenter who worked with wood and carried a cross for you. When he opens his hand, you see the gnarled flesh of the nail scars on his wrists. And when you think he doesn’t understand your pain, realize that you don’t understand the extent of his pain. Love him or not, he has proven he loves you.
If you hate suffering, does it make sense to choose eternal suffering when God has already suffered so much to deliver you from it?
In your most troubled moments, when you cry out to God, “Why have you let this happen?” picture the outstretched hands of Christ, forever scarred... for you.
Do those look like the hands of a God who does not care?
(Excerpted from my book If God Is Good)
Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash
Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.