Lessons From the Cross About Suffering

From Issue: Discovery 2/1/2013

Recently there was a tragic event at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. A young man murdered 27 people and then killed himself. Many of the people he killed were young children who were six or seven years old. When something sad like this happens, some people get mad at God. They want to know why He didn’t stop the young man. Why would God allow such a terrible thing to occur?

You may even have questions like these yourself. Let’s see if we can find some answers. Where is God when innocent people suffer? He is in the same place He was when He watched His only Son be nailed to the cross. The Bible tells us that God could have prevented the crucifixion (Matthew 26:50-53). But He didn’t.

So what can the cross teach us about suffering? First, we can know that just because a person may suffer, it does not mean that God does not love that person. Jesus suffered a very painful death on the cross, but we would never suggest that this means God did not love Him. The Bible teaches us that God allowed Jesus to suffer, not because He didn’t love Him, but to serve a higher purpose.

Second, we know that although people may suffer, it does not mean that God is punishing them. While it is true that the Bible tells of people who suffered because of sins they committed, Jesus’ crucifixion shows us that even innocent people suffer. The Bible explains that Jesus was the perfect, sinless sacrifice. But He still suffered on the cross. Thus, we can know that just because people suffer, it does not mean that God is punishing them.

Finally, the cross teaches us that just because we may suffer, it does not mean that God is unjust. Even though pain and suffering are not fun, sometimes they can be valuable.  God allowed Jesus to suffer so that the rest of the world could be saved. The Bible says: “Though He [Jesus] was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).

Nobody enjoys suffering. It isn’t a fun thing to endure. However, if we try to see the bigger picture, we may realize that sometimes God allows us to suffer to accomplish a greater good. Nowhere was this clearer than at the cross.


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