The God Who Suffered

“I could never myself believe in God, if it were not for the cross. The only God I believe in is the one Nietzsche ridiculed as ‘God on the Cross.’ In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it? I have entered many Buddhist temples and stood respectfully before the statue of Buddha, his legs crossed, arms folded, eyes closed, the ghost of a smile playing round his mouth, a remote look on his face, detached from the agonies of the world. But each time after a while I have had to turn away. And in imagination I have turned instead to that lonely, twisted, tortured figure on the cross, nails through hands and feet, back lacerated, limbs wrenched, brow bleeding from thorn-pricks, mouth dry and intolerably thirsty, plunged in God-forsaken darkness. That is the God for me! He laid aside his immunity to pain. He entered our world of flesh and blood, tears and death. He suffered for us” (John Stott).

There is so much suffering in the world. If you and I were aware of every single instance of suffering all over the world all the time, we could not bear it. But God sees it all.

God entered into our world of suffering by becoming one of us. But more than that, God entered into our suffering by enduring everything we must endure in this life. God redeemed our suffering by taking upon Himself the ultimate suffering on that world’s most painful torture device, the cross.

Those 19 families who lost 19 children know what it means to suffer. Their grief will never entirely go away in this lifetime. But the beauty of it is that God knows. Because of Jesus, suffering has new meaning. And suffering has an end.

One day there will be no more tears or pain. One day those wrongs will be made right. One day death will die and love will win. And the ultimate victor will be the God who will forever bear the scars on His hands and side and feet, the God who suffered.

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