“Suffering is unbearable if you aren’t certain that God is for you and with you.” Tim Keller
“Although I cannot learn from [Jesus] why a particular bad thing occurs, I can learn how God feels about it. Jesus gives God a face, and that face is streaked with tears. Whenever I read straight through the Bible, a huge difference between the Old and New Testaments comes to light. In the OT I can find many expressions of doubt and disappointment. Whole books – Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Job – center on the theme. Almost half of the psalms have a dark, brooding tone about them. In striking contrast, the New Testament Epistles contain little of this type of anguish. the problem of pain has surely not gone away: James 1, Romans 5 and 8, the entire book of 1 Peter, and much of Revelation deal with the subject in detail. Nevertheless, nowhere do I find the piercing question Does God Care? I see nothing resembling the accusation of Psalm 77: “Has God forgotten to be merciful?” The reason for the change, I believe, is that Jesus answered that question for the witnesses who wrote the Epistles. In Jesus, God presents a face. Anyone who wonders how God feels about suffering on this groaning planet need only look at that face. James, Peter, and John had followed Jesus long enough for his facial expressions to be permanently etched on their minds. By watching Jesus respond to a hemorrhaging woman, a grieving centurion, a widow’s dead son, an epileptic boy, an old blind man, they learned how God felt about suffering. By no means did Jesus solve the ‘problem of pain’ – he healed only a few in one small corner of the globe – but he did provide an answer to the question, Does God care? Philip Yancey
“Christ suffered for you” 1 Peter 2:21
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- “In Jesus, God presents a face.” How is your understanding of the invisible God shaped by the flesh-and-blood person of Jesus?
- A big part of the “problem of pain” is feeling forgotten or forsaken by God. Does remembering Jesus strengthen you against such feelings, even in the worst of times? …based on how he was with those who suffered? …based on how he was forsaken?
- What words of comfort would you offer a suffering friend? What would you refrain from saying?
Abba, what a revelation is Jesus your son. Thank you for him.
For More: The Bible Jesus Read by Philip Yancey
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)