ABANDONED by God. That is how life has been experienced by vast numbers of people. They feel they have been brought into a world that so depends on God, yet they find when they most need him, he’s nowhere to be found. It’s a shattering discovery — the one who they had hoped to discover was found to be indiscoverable.
Such is life, they deduce. There is no god.
But we sort of know that God has to be there, because there is still no viable help in the suffering, otherwise. We cannot escape the existential twists of life, no matter how sensible or rich or successful we are. There is still so much suffering. The existence of suffering, and the pointlessness of it, points us to the existence of God — and not the other way around.
Then we try our hand at any number of distractions, diversions and denials, and, in living the life of Solomon, we find that nothing makes life better; fleeting vanities only halt the inevitable sorrows for a moment.
Suddenly we are found on a precipice. We are in the land of decision and we go over into the abyss of anger or we back off and learn something of God we don’t want to accept. We either rail hard against God (an ever futile exercise) for not being more active or we accept the deduction (an ever fruitful exercise) that God will not be coerced. Life is what it is — suffering and all.
Suffering and God’s help; how can we know there is a connection?
There are myriads of God’s views on suffering in the Bible.
In the Bible:
God is for the oppressed and against the oppressor.
God is for faithful leadership and against tyrannical governance.
God is for fairness and equity of humanity — based on true human rights — and against discrimination of minorities.
God must hate the idea of bizarre equalities — those ‘equalities’ that brandish sin — but he is vehemently against atrocities, like homophobic behaviours where people are abused because of their lifestyle. Nobody should be abused for their lifestyle. Nobody should be abused, period.
God is friend most of all to the needy. The needy ought to suffer only so much that they reach out to God and imagine him there, with them, in their distress.
The only way we can know that God is interested and empathic about suffering is to read the Bible. And, because life is so subject to suffering, we ought to know God exists, and that he is the only Comforter for anyone who suffers.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.