Scripture reveals God as the loving King who ordains and oversees all suffering. If he were only portrayed as sovereign, we might be tempted to shrink back from him in fear. But because he's also shown to be our suffering God, who willingly stepped into unthinkable affliction on our behalf, we can be assured of his goodness and move toward him in love.
Our God understands suffering and loss. At great cost to himself, Jesus volunteered to empty himself of heavenly glory to become a humble servant (Phil. 2:6-8). Out of love for us he died the death we deserved. On the cross, Jesus lost his Father's tender intimacy in exchange for the fury of his fierce wrath. Jesus was afflicted and forsaken by his Father to ensure that we'd never be alone or forsaken in our afflictions.
Likewise, the Father didn't spare his own Son but gave him up for us all (Rom. 8:32). He endured the ache of turning away from the Son he'd eternally loved so he'd never have to turn away from us. Though they both felt otherworldly grief, they chose this death and loss in order to ultimately defeat the suffering that comes from sin, death, and loss for us. What love! When we feel like God is distant, indifferent, or uncaring toward us in our suffering, the cross stands as compelling evidence that he's not.
Yes, our sovereign God may wisely allow what we most fear, but our suffering God convinces us of his deep love as we face these things. The powerful hands that uphold all things are the hands that were pierced for us. Freshly seeing God as God—the suffering, sovereign One—is freeing me from fear to trust again.Read the rest.