Love and Suffering.
1 Chronicles 29:11
11 Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, LORD, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all. (NIV)
God has all dominion. He is the ruler of all things. Nothing and no one can thwart the plan of God. Is everything we see part of the plan? Even David who declares God’s dominion will often question God in what He has allowed, what He does or doesn’t do. God’s ways are higher than ours and we are left confounded. If God is a good God, how can He allow such wickedness in the world? How can He allow so much suffering? This may well be the biggest question the world has about God.
God is love. Because His nature is pure love, His desire is to have a loving relationship with His creation. Too often, Christianity is simplified to eternal fire insurance. The goal, it would seem, is simply to get to Heaven, and to do this, we are taught we only need to believe. This is true, but if this were all our relationship to God was to be, He would be no more than a Ticketmaster punching everyone’s ticket before they enter Heaven. But we know He is so much more than this.
He is the lover of our souls. He calls Himself the groom and we are His bride. He is our Father and we are His children. He is clueing us into His purpose and desire which is an intimately loving relationship with each one of us. So, to fully understand His plan, we must define love to some degree.
Love never forces itself on another. Love forced is manipulation. God gives us the freedom to love or reject Him. In this freedom, many choose Him and many do not. However, to reject God is to separate ourselves from the essence of goodness. The further we separate ourselves, the more comfortable we become with ungodly, immoral, unethical, and even wicked things. The more we separate ourselves from God, the more sin and hence, the more suffering we inflict on one another.
To stop all suffering, God would have to retract our free will. We would be no more than flesh and blood robots incapable of love.
What does God do with all the suffering we inflict on one another? He has sent His Holy Spirit active in the world and in believers to bring comfort and healing so that our suffering will lead the world back to Him.
Prayer: Lord, help me to remember in God’s dominion, His plan to reconcile souls in love does not eliminate suffering, but He also brings healing and comfort to our suffering. Amen.