I just had to write a paper for school. This was the topic: How can God allow extreme suffering if He is a loving Father?
I stared at that question all morning. Rather than attempt to attach words to what the fragile and breaking heart cannot comprehend, I have done laundry and dishes and applied a fresh coat of paint to a cabinet. I have done all that I could think of to delay sitting down to write.
Because as churches explode in Baghdad and women are traded as commodities and children breathe their last in the arms of wailing mothers, I do not have an answer. As we grieve international tragedies and personal losses, I do not have an answer. Tiny caskets. Broken vows. Fear. Addiction. Depression.
I do not know why. But perhaps I could begin to grapple with how…
How can a loving Father allow extreme suffering? How does the Perfect and Sovereign One watch the ones He so perfectly loves writhe under the weight of suffering and bondage and despair? If He truly is a loving Father, there is only one way He could allow it – and that is by being with us in the midst of it.
We can spend our whole lives trying to make sense of what we were never meant to understand. We can study and analyze and parse apart, but our hearts will pulse weak, and our blood will run cold.
We can fight for certainty when we were promised Presence.
We can scour for meaning what God promised to make beautiful.
We can wrestle for why while God stretches out His arms and offers Me.
Because He knows that a heart full of answers will still be stone cold, He gives a heart of flesh. A heart of wonder. A heart of questions. A heart capable of delight and sorrow, of hope and fear, of trust and doubt. A heart pulsing blood that runs thick and warm and vulnerable. But blood that flows also spills.
A heart of flesh beats with the conviction that evil and suffering are wrong. A heart of flesh knows this could not be what God intended. A heart of flesh is pierced by pain. A heart of flesh cries out to God in the midst of it.
And a God who has somehow allowed that pain proves His goodness by His Presence.