My lips instantly read his temperature as they pressed against his soft chubby cheek. Then my heart tore a little. As I held my firstborn’s hot little body in my arms, I caught myself wishing it were me instead of him. I would gladly take this sickness for him. Then it hit me. I understood why there is suffering in the world — love.
The innate love we have for our children is what compels us to sacrifice our own needs for theirs. It is an inherited trait from our Father, the God who created us in His image.
When our children are hurt, we want nothing more than to scoop them up and kiss their tears away. We try to make them smile and wipe away their pain. We wipe their cheeks. Their pain hurts us because that’s what love does.
That’s the way the God of the universe loves us.
Nicholas Wolterstorff wrote, “God is love. That is why he suffers. To love our suffering sinful world is to suffer. God so suffered for the world that he gave up his only Son to suffering. The one that does not see God’s suffering does not see his love. God is suffering love.”
To watch suffering, especially in those we love, can become more painful for us than to carry the pain ourselves. That’s because the God who created the family, designed motherhood and fatherhood after His own love.
The universal question, “If God is a loving God, then why is there suffering?” seems logical on the surface. Because we were made for love, our minds have a hard time comprehending suffering. We push it away, we want to abolish it, and we certainly don’t want it inflicted on anyone we love.
And yet, because of love, we suffer when we witness evil, when we are separated by death, and when we feel the pain of injustice. Cruelty brings pain and suffering. Addictions masquerade as happiness until the truth is revealed by the pain and loss it causes. Grief and heartache are the appropriate response to all of these.
Consider this, physical pain tells us there is something wrong with our bodies. The pain pulls our attention to the affected area. It forces us to take the care and attention it needs to provide healing. What if the pain we feel when we witness injustice or experience tragedy is supposed to be the trigger to change our lives? What if, these things grieve us because they also grieve God.
Why is there suffering? Perhaps it is the right response to evil, sickness, and death within a world in need of a savior.
I couldn’t take my son’s sickness for him. But I realized that a good God doesn’t bring sickness or suffering to the world. He longs to take it from us.
Originally published March 9, 2020 at Inspiration.org