That question. Some of us hate hearing it. Others, live with it.
Suffering often comes upon us by surprise. When the soul cannot find justice, it will pour out questions- questions that are very tough to answer when they come mixed with personal grief and burning vengeance. This is not an attempt to answer the question, but a deeper look at the question itself.
Did you notice this question above shows an assumption beneath it?
Assumption– God is duty-bound to address evil & suffering.
Looking at the Bible, we see 2 truths that address this assumption. The first is that God is obliged to no one, to do nothing (Rom. 9:15). He is someone who is so pure, wickedness evaporates in His presence. He is truly the Master of the vast universe and has power we have no clue of. Like it was said of Aslan – “Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
Meanwhile our world paints a picture that shouts – the universe, this world, the things around me, all of this will help me become better. “I will be Happier.” We all buy into this philosophy. Because you and I think everything exists to serve us, we forget that everything actually exists to make this God more amazing & worthy of adoration. Even evil has this purpose. (Rom. 9:17).
So – In the big story, the Lord God is able to make any form of evil, any wickedness out there or in our own hearts, to serve Him.
The second truth? This God has already addressed evil in an impartial yet amazingly, compassionate manner.
He is the very reason we have virtues called justice & love. He will punish all wrong-doing. Easy to hear, but that will wipe you & me out too. We deserve eternal punishment for violating His pure ways. But unlike men, He offered himself to be punished instead of us imperfect sinners -the Ultimate Suicide Mission. You and I do not know what it was for Christ to bear His Father’s wrath for our wrongs.
So when I see suffering in the world & ask “where are you, God?”… he is right there at that Cross, dying for my wrong-doings.
May this Christmas be a good reminder- I know of no one else who was “born in a manger”, to suffer something that awaits those who reject Him- a wrath that only shows God loves what is right. While we are here, we will suffer. But we have a fighting chance to overcome suffering & evil just because of this Jesus, who is the answer to suffering (John 9:1-3) as long as there is Christmas.
Next time when suffering comes at you like a Tsunami wave, will you look to Him who loved us so much?