How Does Christ’s Suffering Help in Our Suffering?

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How Does Christ’s Suffering Help in Our Suffering?

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 “God, are You sad at the state of the world?” “Why is there so much evil in the world, and why don’t You stop it?” “Why do good, kind people suffer, and why do evil people seem to prosper?” “Why have You allowed evil to exist and persist from the beginning of humanity?” “Where are You in our trials and tribulations?”

These questions and many similar ones come to us from hurting and puzzled people who wonder why God appears to be silent to never-ending human pain.

Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered too. He, as God in the flesh, underwent horrific beating and pain before breathing His last. What was the purpose in that? We hear how Jesus suffered for us. What then does His suffering have to do with our suffering?

Could God have made a world without evil by just taking away our ability to commit wickedness? Wouldn’t it have been easy for Him to have simply said, “I’m going to make you all marionettes —I’ll pull the strings, and everybody will do only what is right and good”?Wouldn’t that be better for everyone than what we have now?

Suffering and evil affect every one of us at different intensities. Some of you have gone through torturous physical and mental trials over the past year. Does a loving God use evil and suffering to accomplish a greater good? And if so, how? We need an explanation. We need a sensible explanation with a comforting hug.

To give fuller context to the human experience, let’s start with the end of man’s journey, the future culmination described by the apostle Paul in Romans 8:18-24 Romans 8:18-24 [18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. [19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. [20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope, [21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. [23] And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. [24] For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for?
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(English Standard Version):

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to [or into] us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons [or full status of sonship], the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved” (emphasis added throughout).

Various reasons are given about suffering’s place in the human experience. Is it to build character? The result of cause and effect? Punishment? Testing? Time and chance? To learn compassion or empathy? To become stronger—no pain, no gain? Just God’s random will for whatever or unknown reasons—with some severely suffering, and others not so much? To induce repentance?

Let’s go beyond these common reasons for suffering and ask: Where is God in all the pain? This question is a primary one for all religions and philosophers. Where can we turn for the best answers to why suffering and evil exist? Who has the truth? What is the truth?

While we seek an all-encompassing answer for all mankind, we also want a personal answer for our pain, suffering, injustice, hurt, anger, disappointments, tragedies and catastrophes.

Back to the beginning

We’ve seen the end of the story, but now let’s go back to the beginning of the human experience.

The clues and answers about why evil and suffering exist emerge in the Garden of Eden shortly after the creation of man. But actually the story starts long before. And God clearly shows that He has not walked away from us but has actually been very much with us, as He was to lose His own Son in this saga. He has not been silent. He has spoken loudly and frequently to us through His Word and still does, remaining very much with us.

From the first verses of the Bible describing God’s creation we see that everything God created was good and very good (see Genesis 1:3-4 Genesis 1:3-4 [3] And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. [4] And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
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, Genesis 1:10 Genesis 1:10And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
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, Genesis 1:17-18 Genesis 1:17-18 [17] And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light on the earth, [18] And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
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, Genesis 1:31 Genesis 1:31And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
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). God gave Adam and Eve access to everything in the Garden of Eden, including the tree of life. Man was encouraged to eat from this tree—its name suggesting that life would be perpetuated through eating its fruit.

But there was another tree in the garden with dire warnings attached to it. God declared to Adam and Eve: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17 Genesis 2:17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.
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). This is the first mention of death in the Bible.

God said that if they ate from this tree they wouldn’t be the same. They’d have an altered perspective. They’d suffer and finally die. Don’t do it! the Lord instructed them. Choose life! But God was not going to force them. That would not even have been a choice. Instead, He warned them of consequences the wrong choice would bring.

But here another figure entered the scene—the serpent tempting Eve into eating of the forbidden fruit, with her husband then following along. And so evil was introduced into man’s world.

Yet this was not the actual beginning of evil. So where did evil come from? Did God create it? No, evil is whatever is contrary to God and His way. It originated not with God, but with the wrong choice of a spirit being God made—a powerful archangel.

God recounts what happened in Ezekiel 28, declaring to this spirit being: “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God … You were the anointed cherub who covers [an angel stationed right at God’s throne] …

“You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you … You became filled with violence within, and you sinned … Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor” (Ezekiel 28:12-17 Ezekiel 28:12-17 [12] Son of man, take up a lamentation on the king of Tyrus, and say to him, Thus said the Lord GOD; You seal up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. [13] You have been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of your tabrets and of your pipes was prepared in you in the day that you were created. [14] You are the anointed cherub that covers; and I have set you so: you were on the holy mountain of God; you have walked up and down in the middle of the stones of fire. [15] You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, till iniquity was found in you. [16] By the multitude of your merchandise they have filled the middle of you with violence, and you have sinned: therefore I will cast you as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy you, O covering cherub, from the middle of the stones of fire. [17] Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty, you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness: I will cast you to the ground, I will lay you before kings, that they may behold you.
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). “Therefore,” God says, “I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God” (Ezekiel 28:16 Ezekiel 28:16By the multitude of your merchandise they have filled the middle of you with violence, and you have sinned: therefore I will cast you as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy you, O covering cherub, from the middle of the stones of fire.
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More is told in Isaiah 14: “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars [angels] of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High’” (Isaiah 1412-14).

This being, here called Lucifer, was an embittered angel who envied and desired God’s position and in his rebellion caused as much collateral damage as he could. He became Satan, a Hebrew term that means “Adversary,” and was cast down to the earth—along with a third of the angels who had joined his rebellion (Luke 10:18 Luke 10:18And he said to them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
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; Revelation 12:4 Revelation 12:4And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
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). Satan’s way, the way of evil, was that of self-exaltation, in opposition to God’s way of outflowing love and concern.

The world led astray

It was Satan who appeared in the garden to now lead humankind astray. And mankind chose to follow him and his errant ways.

God had presented a choice to Adam and Eve and clearly outlined the outcome of each option. But man made the wrong choice. Eve was duped by Satan (as the serpent) into desiring and eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve both disobeyed, deciding with free will to eat of this forbidden tree. As a consequence of rejecting God’s reign over their lives, they were expelled from the Garden of Eden and thrust into an opposing kingdom, the kingdom of Satan. This was not a “neutral” position.

And Satan has remained as “the ruler of this world” and “god of this age” (John 12:31 John 12:31Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
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; John 14:30 John 14:30Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world comes, and has nothing in me.
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; John 16:11 John 16:11Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
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; 2 Corinthians 4:4 2 Corinthians 4:4In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.
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). This is his world, his environment, reflecting his violence and instability. In terms of human society this is not God’s world.

Satan the devil is the author of destruction, deception and genocide. He hates mankind. He hates you and me. It galls him that we are alive! Our prayers daily are to include a plea to “deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13 Matthew 6:13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For your is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
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). And it is our duty as Christians to resist the devil and his attitudes permeating the world around us (see James 4:7 James 4:7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
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; 1 Peter 5:9 1 Peter 5:9Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brothers that are in the world.
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The apostle Paul speaks of God leading us out of worldly ways in these terms: “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind” (Ephesians 2:1-3 Ephesians 2:1-3 [1] And you has he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; [2] Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience: [3] Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
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In 1 John 2:15 1 John 2:15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
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we’re told, “Do not love the world or the things in the world,” referring to its selfish desires and ways (1 John 2:16 1 John 2:16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
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; compare James 4:4 James 4:4You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
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). The world certainly does not love those who follow God (John 15:18-19 John 15:18-19 [18] If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. [19] If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
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). Indeed, “the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19 1 John 5:19And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness.
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This sad condition goes back to the sin of Adam and Eve. But God was not caught unaware by their big mistake in following Satan. His plan had not been thwarted. Rather, God determined well before the creation of man to redeem man from sin and its consequences—“with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb … foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:18-20 1 Peter 1:18-20 [18] For as much as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; [19] But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: [20] Who truly was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
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). This was part of the plan all along.

But why would God allow all this?

The need for free will

One of the foremost objections to the Christian faith is: How could there be a loving God who permits so much pain, suffering and evil in the world?

Many people think God being all-powerful means He could do anything He wants to do. But the Bible is very clear that there are some things God can’t and won’t do.

For instance, it’s impossible for God to lie or break a promise (Titus 1:2 Titus 1:2In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
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; Hebrews 6:18 Hebrews 6:18That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us:
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; Psalms 89:34 Psalms 89:34My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.
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). This is intrinsic to His nature. In fact, God is love (1 John 4:8 1 John 4:8He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
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, 1 John 4:16 1 John 4:16And we have known and believed the love that God has to us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him.
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). This quality of outflowing care defines His identity. God cannot be evil or hateful.

But human beings can think and act for good or bad. With the moral freedom we’ve been given, there’s a possibility for abundant good, but there’s also the possibility for abundant evil—particularly under the influence of a powerful evil spirit, as has been the case since the Garden of Eden.

Having created human beings with the power of free choice, God can discern what they’re going to do, but He can’t make people do what they’re going to do in an ultimate sense. Otherwise they’re not really free. Evil entered the world when people freely chose to not do the right thing and to instead do the wrong thing.

God wanted those made in His image to freely choose to love Him and love others. You cannot love someone unless you have the choice to not love him. Love is a choice, a function of free will.

The sort of love people can give to God and one another depends on them being able to do it willingly from the bottom of their hearts without being forced. As soon as it’s coerced, it’s not love.

So we see in this something else God cannot do. He cannot instantly create loving beings—beings of free will with the choice to love and do right and stay that way. Genuine love and righteous character can only be developed over time—and only through allowing ongoing choice.

Of course, that of necessity also allows for consequential bad choices and all the evil we see. But what God desired was worth it. It was a good thing for God to create human beings with free will, allowing others to express sincere love not only to God but also to each other in the closest of human relationships.

Sci-fi utopias in contrast

Science fiction offers stories of futuristic utopian societies that have eradicated suffering through technology, curing disease, ending war and poverty, controlling accidents, sometimes even conquering death by artificial immortality. But the societies in these stories prove to be colossal frauds—apparently happy but experiencing deep failure, seemingly humane but really heartless. The elimination of suffering turns out to be the elimination of humanness. These utopian societies become dystopian, denoting an imagined state or society where there is great suffering or injustice.

(Don’t get me wrong—there will yet be a truly perfect society, but not one brought about by man. Instead, God will ultimately establish His Kingdom over all nations, at last bringing true peace and joy to the world. This will be unlike any sci-fi vision.)

One of the most famous science fiction utopias is that of the 1931 book Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, ranked fifth on a list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

The story’s setting is London in the year 2540. The publisher describes it as “a streamlined, soulless Eden” where there is no suffering. On the surface everyone is happy through endless combinations of mindless games, the wonder drug soma and free sex. Fundamental human relationships such as families and motherhood are relics of the past. All sources of suffering have been eliminated.

The characters in the book are happy because they’re not really human. The only truly human character in the story maintains his humanity only by suffering—and since suffering is no longer possible in this new society in which he unexpectedly finds himself, he ultimately takes his own life.

What’s missing in these imaginary societies is not just suffering but the freedom of choice for everyone that could lead to suffering—or, on the other hand, to truly positive results. Free will is both the source of and the solution to human suffering.

God became man—to suffer and die and lead many to glory

We should further realize that all the suffering God has allowed will, in His plan, work toward a good outcome for those who ultimately choose to follow God (compare Romans 8:28 Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
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And the supreme demonstration of God’s use of suffering and evil for good is revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The most inconceivable event in all of history is when the timeless, eternal Word of life left the spirit realm to become a human being. He came into the world to which Adam and Eve were exiled, the kingdom of Satan, to perform His mission.

We read of this in John 1, some of the most eloquent words in Scripture: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (verses 1-14).

This One who had been God with the Father, the “I AM” who spoke in the Old Testament (John 8:58 John 8:58Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Before Abraham was, I am.
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; Exodus 3:14 Exodus 3:14And God said to Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.
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), came to earth as a man to die (Philippians 2:5-8 Philippians 2:5-8 [5] Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: [6] Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: [7] But made himself of no reputation, and took on him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: [8] And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.
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It was hard for the Jews of His day and even His own disciples to understand this. Even the devil must have pondered why Jesus would make Himself vulnerable as flesh and enter the world of his dominion, the world of death.

Christ faced the greatest ignominy of a Roman execution. Invented a few centuries before Jesus, crucifixion was so horrific that Roman citizens were not permitted to be crucified.

The worst thing that ever happened in history was the suffering and death of God. Could God the Father have stopped it? Of course. But He allowed the devil to influence Judas Iscariot, Caiaphas, Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate and others to bring about the worst event in the history of the world. In fact, this was God’s plan all along.  

Jesus Christ endured great emotional and spiritual agony as He experienced the consequences of the actual sin of the world, feeling betrayal, injustice, isolation and unimaginable torment.

But the horrific misery inflicted on Him was redeemed by an all-wise, all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful God. It was used for the greatest goodness imaginable—reconciliation and justification leading to the salvation of mankind!

Jesus’ suffering and death was not the end. He would rise from the grave, victorious over death to return to the Father and then live in us to make of us a new creation—to ultimately lead us into resurrection to eternal life as well. Jesus went through all this “in bringing many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
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). This is why we have hope!

Jesus has thus led the way for us. And here we get closer to answering the questions at the outset as to why we must suffer and where we find peace and relief.

God totally gets it

But again, we want more than a cerebral, mechanical, clinical explanation. We want comfort. And “the God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3 2 Corinthians 1:3Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
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) gives us that, and even more.

In John 14, 15 and 16 Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit sent from God with a term John recorded in Greek as parakletos. The same word is used of Jesus Himself in 1 John 2:1 1 John 2:1My little children, these things write I to you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
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. It means an advocate, one who pleads our cause, a comforter, a helper, an encourager. It’s the comfort that enables a man to pass the breaking point and not break. It exhorts us to noble deeds and high thoughts.

Help in understanding our suffering and bearing through it indeed lies in the once-for-all catastrophic event of the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. God reached into our space, time and wounds. We needed more than a pep talk. The Father sent His companion from eternity as His only begotten Son. This divine Word gave Himself. He came in love seeking a relationship with us.

God did not gloss over our sins and our suffering. He came into it, like a surgeon, to cut it all out. Like a garbage man, He takes away our trash, which is sin. He indeed could feel our pain, whether it be sickness, abandonment or injury.

Jesus encouraged His disciples on the eve of His sacrifice: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 John 16:33These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
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, New International Version). He beat it!

Jesus acknowledges that because of what mankind has done in opening the door to evil in this world, we have pain and suffering. It’s become an inevitable part of life, and yet He tells us that He has overcome and beaten the world. And consider that God’s answer to the problem of suffering not only happened at Christ’s crucifixion, but the answer is still occurring in our lives now.

Christ has empathy for us because He went through it and has suffered. We, too, can have empathy for others.

Do we cry with emotional and physical pain? Christ was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Are we cast aside? Christ was despised and rejected of men. Have we been misunderstood, betrayed, broken? Christ experienced all these.

In the kingdom of Satan, Christ has been to Rwanda, Auschwitz, Syria, Stalingrad, abortion clinics and countless other places of crisis and tragedy over the entire history of man on this planet. But He will turn it to victory! That was God’s plan from before the creation of man.

In God becoming human, He descends into the whole of the human condition.

Does He descend into the depths of our hells? Yes. Corrie ten Boom of the Netherlands recalled the words of her sister Betsie in the depths of a Nazi death camp: “There is no pit so deep that the love of God is not deeper still” (The Hiding Place, 1974, p. 118).

There’s a kinship in knowing that God “totally gets it” regarding our pain. He’s been there. He doesn’t just have it figured out logically and clinically. He has personally entered into the experience of mankind and really knows how we feel. He truly understands. And He shows us the way forward.

Solving the problem of suffering

In summary, Jesus came into the human condition. He suffered with us. He showed the gravity of mankind’s sins in what He went through—for sin brings not just death but misery. Thus His suffering and death paid the price for sin. And in this He also showed the awesome love of God in what God was willing to go through to save us—encouraging us to trust Him and cast all our cares on Him.

Further, after suffering and dying, Jesus rose again. In this way He opened eternal life for us, transforming death from an end into a beginning—turning death pangs to birth pangs.

In becoming flesh as one of us, Jesus made our suffering part of His work of our redemption and salvation. Again, our trials and death pangs become birth pangs for eternity. We are being prepared for a new nature.

This amazing sacrificial death is summarized in one of the most quoted of all scriptures: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
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We must keep this future fixed firmly in our minds, just as Jesus did, to endure (Hebrews 12:2 Hebrews 12:2Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
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The Christian response to the problem of evil and suffering was perhaps best summarized by the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:8-17 2 Corinthians 4:8-17 [8] We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; [9] Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; [10] Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. [11] For we which live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. [12] So then death works in us, but life in you. [13] We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; [14] Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. [15] For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. [16] For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. [17] For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
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“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment [in comparison to what follows], is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

The Word of God helps us understand this problem of evil and suffering as followers of Christ—that God can cause all these things to work for good in our lives.  

As we look back on our own trials and resultant sufferings, even severe crises with our families, work and health, we can say that there were lessons that have given us a valuable perspective about ourselves and our relationship to those around. We become different people from what we would have been if we had not gone through these things. These momentary, light afflictionsare producing for us the eternal weight of glory.

The story that started in the Garden of Eden makes full circle to a return to Eden and the tree of life with the coming down of the New Jerusalem in the last two chapters of the Bible, Revelation 21-22.

And here in Revelation 21:3-4 Revelation 21:3-4 [3] And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. [4] And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
American King James Version×
we at last see an end to all suffering, as a loud voice out of heaven announces: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

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