We’ve been transfixed for the last six weeks by the images and reports of horror coming from the war being evilly inflicted on the people of Ukraine by Russia. These images can represent what people find most difficult about accepting faith in God – i.e., the fact of so much innocent suffering in the world.
2000 years ago, the Christian Gospel anticipated this difficulty, and answered it. God Himself underwent the greatest and most unjust suffering. On Good Friday, God the Son, as the man, Jesus of Nazareth, was put to death on the cross. He who was truly innocent suffered unspeakable torture, and more than that, suffered infinitely, losing the presence of God (Mt 27:46).
He did this to pay for all human evils – including all the horrors of war, cancel and forgive them, restore us to a right relationship with God, peace with all people, and heal our brokenness. Jesus Christ entered the deepest, darkest suffering and loss so that we might be saved from it. He did this because that’s how much He loves us!
Yet, because sin and evil are the cause of death, their destruction means that death itself was also destroyed. Therefore, God raised Him from the dead to eternal life on Easter Day, to grant that same resurrection to all who look to Him in faith and repentance.
To know this is to know that God is working in and over all that we experience, to liberate us and the world from suffering, and bring us to certain fulfilment in a healed, glorious, new heaven and earth. Many Ukrainians know and celebrate this Gospel; we certainly can!
Grace in Christ, Jonathan.