I am the man who has seen affliction
by the rod of the Lord’s wrath.
He has driven me away and made me walk
in darkness rather than light;
indeed, he has turned his hand against me
again and again, all day long.
He has made my skin and my flesh grow old
and has broken my bones.
He has besieged me and surrounded me
with bitterness and hardship.
He has made me dwell in darkness
like those long dead.
These are real human experiences; we can, and do, go through them. How can God let this happen?… How can we cope with them?….
Well, the question of why we go through them, we can’t fully answer. However, we do have Jesus’ answer, that suffering is an opportunity for the glory of God to be known by us, and shown through us (Jn 9:1-12) – i.e., either through delivering us, or increasing our reliance and faith in His saving, sustaining grace.
The Christian Gospel also tells us that God is not hiding safe and comfortable somewhere off at the other end of heaven. That His Son went through the suffering and death and hell of crucifixion, taking the Father’s heart and soul through that with Him, means that God enters into our suffering – goes through it with us – because He loves us.
But more than that, in grace He also bears our suffering with and for us, and lifts us up and carries us through it; He strengthens us, renews our faith and hope, and promises that even our joy will return (Ps 125:5,6).
Hope in Him! He will lift us up!
Grace in Christ, Jonathan