God doesn’t stop us suffering, and doesn’t make us happy, so what good even is He? In what way does He love us at all?
The question is expressed perfectly by Jesus’ crucifixion. God allows His Son to be tortured and brutally executed. So really, what good is it to be God’s children, if God will abandon us, at the moment we need Him most?
The answer is Jesus’ resurrection. He was never abandoned, and never alone. God didn’t numb the pain, or provide pleasant distractions. But in His love, the Father shared in that pain, and brought it, and brought Jesus, to glorious fulfillment. His suffering was not removed, but it was made fruitful and glorious and even joyful.
Jesus could give His suffering, humiliation and death, in love, because He knew that His Father loved Him no matter what, from all eternity. He could accept the loss of everything as from the Father’s love, and offer it to the Father, in the love of the Father that lives in Him (in fact, that He is). And in this way, His suffering, humiliation and death are made divine.
Love wills the good of the beloved, but not merely their happiness. It wills their fullness of being and life. This requires our self-expression, and ultimately, our self-emptying in divine love. We need to be torn apart like bread, and poured out like wine, in order to be fully alive. The best moments of life are usually born in great pain and humiliation, embraced in love.
‘Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.’ (John 12:24)
So when we suffer, we can trust that God is with us, and will bring our suffering to fruition and glory, if we’ll surrender and offer ourselves to Him, in His love.
Abba, Father, I surrender myself to Your love. Amen
God bless you