We have been looking at objections to the Christian faith arising from the presence of suffering and evil in the world. It is important that many people do not have an intellectual objection to the existence of God & evil but an emotional one. How should we respond?
First ask yourself this, does God suffer?
Look at Matthew 27:45-47. It reads:
45 Now from the sixth hourthere was darkness over all the landuntil the ninth hour.46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.”
Why does Jesus use these words? Because for the first and only time in history, the presence of the Father and Spirit are ripped away from Jesus. He is utterly alone.
Do you understand why his suffering was more painful than anyone has ever experienced? To know the presence of God throughout all of eternity is to be absolutely complete and feel wholly loved.
But why is the presence torn from Jesus on the cross? Because at this moment, the son is taking all of the sins of his followers throughout history upon himself. He did so to spare those who place their faith in Him from a punishment we are all do for the moral wrongs we have committed against God. Jesus suffered physically but he also suffered spiritually beyond measure.
God has suffered. He has suffered greatly.
Recently British author Francis Spufford has argued that this is the strongest counter to the objection of evil in the world–you can live a life of suffering utterly alone without God or you can be in an eternal, unbreakable relationship with one who has suffered more than any other and will always be with you in your suffering.
Which will you choose?
There are two stories from which we all must decide to follow–the one without God where life is short and may be brutal and pointless or the one with God where are suffering will pass and we will inherit an eternal perfect kingdom.
Near the end of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Sam Gamgee discovers his friend Gandalf is alive when he thought he had been killed and says, “I though you were dead!…Is everything sad going to come untrue?”
For all those in Jesus Christ, everything sad will come untrue.