Far from being an impersonal God, the God of the Bible created human beings in His image, knowing in advance that they would disobediently separate themselves from Him through sin and thus require His divine redemption. This, in turn, would require His own deep spiritual pain and suffering. For there was no other way for God to reconcile man to Himself than by lowering Himself to human form, suffering all the indignities of human existence, and then volunteering Himself for a humiliating and excruciating but wholly undeserved death on the Cross so that by faith in Him we could be saved as a result of His sinless life, his death and his ultimate triumph over death through His resurrection.
Evangelist Ajith Fernando wrote, "At the cross we see the immensity of God's pain as He endured the sacrifice of Jesus. And God experienced that pain of the cross from the time He created the world, for the Bible describes Jesus as 'the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.'"
That God was willing to suffer and sacrifice for us shows that He is a God who loves us and can relate to us (and to whom we can relate) through His own sufferings.
Christian writer John Stott beautifully encapsulated this idea. He wrote, "I could never myself believe in God were it not for the cross. ... For the real sting of suffering is not misfortune itself, nor even the pain of it or the injustice of it, but the apparent God-forsakeness of it. Pain is endurable, but the seeming indifference of God is not. Sometimes we picture him lounging, perhaps dozing, in some celestial deck-chair, while the hungry millions starve to death. We think of him as an armchair spectator, almost gloating over the world's suffering, and enjoying His own insulation from it. Philip Yancey has gone further and uttered the unutterable which we may have thought but to which we have never dared to give voice: 'If God is truly in charge, somehow connected to all the world's suffering, why is He so capricious, unfair? Is He the cosmic sadist Who delights in watching us squirm?' Job had said something similar: God 'mocks the despair of the innocent (Job 9:23).' It is this terrible caricature of God which the cross smashes to smithereens. We are not to envisage Him on a deck-chair, but on a cross. The God Who allows us to suffer, once suffered Himself in Christ, and continues to suffer with us and for us today."
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