Throughout our history, one thing that has plagued us since the conception of humankind is suffering. As someone once said, the only thing that is certain in life is that those who are born will one day die. I would like to add, the only thing that is certain in life is that those who are born will suffer and die. In one way or the other, we all suffer. This suffering comes in different shapes, sizes, and forms. Therefore, many great thinkers have sat down and tried to answer the question, why there is suffering. They have postulated a lot answers as to why there is suffering and how to obliterate it.
From the get, go I would just like to say that there is no justification for any suffering. Yes even though there is some suffering we must go through in order to learn something or get a better grasp of an experience. I personally think that you do not have to loose a leg in order to appreciate or learn how important it is to have two legs. Learning does not have to be painful you can learn something without experiencing suffering. Do not get me wrong I am not fantasizing or promoting romanticism. Unfortunately, the best lessons learned are through pain and suffering. So are some of our most valuable memories are of us going through pain and suffering.
Up to date we have been very successful in alleviating suffering whether through medicinal, technological, experiential, cultural, and philosophical advances. Despite of these advances humanity at large still experiences great suffering and pain whether it is physical, spiritual, social, financial, emotional, and mental pain. We also suffer from the technological advances whether it is cyber crimes, online bullying, easier access to pornography, and the damage it is doing to our environment. Medicinal where some people have react badly to their medication and loose their lives. Thus, we see that despite all the things we have done to alleviate suffering, it is still experienced.
In our endeavours to find the solution to the problem of suffering, we have also tried to find what or who is the cause of so much pain, agony, misery and stress so that we could hold them accountable. Many point their fingers at God. Asking if God is all wise, all knowing, all powerful, all loving why does He not do anything about suffering. Is He unable to? Is He not willing? Alternatively, He just does not exist. These are very good profound questions that deserve answers to. If God is as described above then He is the only one who is able and should be willing to abolish suffering. Perhaps not so much on those who bring suffering and pain upon themselves but surely those who are vulnerable and defenceless. God would, should, and must do something about it. However, I will deal with these questions in another blog.
This got me thinking, I said hold on, if there is anyone who has been lied about, abused, misused, misunderstood, victimised, pained, rejected, abandoned, cursed at, rebelled against, misrepresented, accused, blamed, pained and suffered is God. I know it is almost unconceivable that God suffers, as He is an incorporeal being. Just as some have imagined that He is impassive and detached from this world, thus He cannot feel any pain or suffer. However, pain and suffering can be abstruse it is not just physical experience. A being that is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient must be aware and acquainted more than us when we get lied about, abused, misused, misunderstood, victimised, pained, rejected, abandoned, cursed at, rebelled against, misrepresented, accused, blamed.
One cannot think that God loves the sight of people suffering of wars, hunger, famine, oppression, and injustice. If we hate it then He must also hate it even more than we do. Because of who He is, He is aware of everything that is happening at the same time. I do not know if He feels or deals with it but in one way or the other, He must feel pained by what He sees and experience. I think that the way God suffers is very different from the way we suffer. His senses are probably heightened and the fact that He is love and loves all His creation it must hurt Him more.
The good example is Jesus as the God man we see how compassionate He always was. Most of the times, His compassion moved Him to heal and feed those who were in need. Yet, no one has suffered more injustice than He did. The Gospels tell us how they mistreated, tried, and condemned Him to be crucified in a kangaroo court. They broke all convention laws of practice. The Jews tried Him by night while Pilate gave in to the influence of the mob despite acknowledging that Jesus was innocent. Jesus died of a broken heart from His mental anguish not so much of His physical pain from the crucifixion. We now know that some the people who were crucified would hang for a day or two before dying but Jesus died in a matter of hours.
When God suffers, it is by choice. He chooses to suffer because of who He is and not that someone or something inflicts pain on Him. Now this might come, as a shock to some who say a God who chooses to suffer is either a weak God as he/she is unable to prevent suffering or incomplete as he/she also suffers like its creation. However, there is ample proof in the Bible that He indeed suffers. God revealed Himself a personal, loving, and compassionate being, who freely engages Himself in, and has ensconced Himself within, the human history. He mercifully heard the cry of His enslaved people, grieved over the sins of His people. He was distressed by their unfaithfulness, and suffered over their sinful plight. So disheartened was God by the hard-heartedness of the Israel that He becomes angry. However, “my heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender. I will not execute my fierce anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not mortal; the Holy One in your midst and I will not come in wrath” Hosea 11:8-9.
Ultimately it is the revelation of His love that demands that God suffer. God is not indifferent to the pain, struggles and suffering that we go through He is there with us. God is love and everything He does is out of love. Therefore it would be natural for love to feel, pain and suffer when it is lied about, abused, misused, misunderstood, victimised, pained, rejected, abandoned, cursed at, rebelled against, misrepresented, accused, blamed. Were God incapable of suffering in any respect, and therefore in an absolute sense, then He would be incapable of love. To show us how much He loves us. That despite being the most powerful being, God is willing to subject Himself to the sufferings at the hands of His creation even to the point of death on the cross. Thus wooing us to believe and trust in Him that He is safe and reliable with His power. He is not dangerous, He is not out to get us but save us.
The more I think about this, the more I feel loved because when I read through the Bible especially at the cross it makes me be in awe of Him. That He did all that for me, He did not have to do it, but He chose to do it. I also feel wroth towards myself knowing that I have lied about, abused, misused, misunderstood, victimised, pained, rejected, abandoned, cursed at, rebelled against, misrepresented, accused, blamed God. So has every single human being at least once in his or her lifetime. You see when we are going through suffering and pain we tend to look inward at ourselves and not everyone else. The fact that when we cry God cries, when we laugh God laughs when we hurt God hurts two should help us go through the hard times in our life.