Thursday, February 24, 2011


In interpreting suffering in the light of the cross, then we must begin with what God chooses to reveal, not with what [we] want God to reveal. Today people feel little need to justify themselves before God, but rather demand that God justify Himself to us. Therefore, the most common question they will raise in the face of suffering is, "Why is God doing this to me?" and although there may be a trace of genuine search for God's will in suffering, more likely the question betrays an underlying attitude that means to say, "I don't deserve this; God should treat me better than this."

Ultimately, the appropriate question is not "Why is God doing this?" but "Where is God in this?" Where is God in my suffering? The "why" of suffering, motivated by the demand that God justify Himself to us, is a pointless question. Answers that say God is testing us, punishing us, teaching us, or warning us -- such answers rarely fit the particulars of our or another's situation. Since we do not know the mind of God, we cannot know when or whether these answers fit at all. Job found that his question "Why are You doing this to me?" got no answer other than a response that prefigured the cross. It is to the foot of the cross that [we must go.] All demands to God for answers and all human pride that feels it deserves answers must end up as excess baggage at the foot of the cross. Rather than "why," better to ask "where." "Where is God in suffering? My suffering?" God answers with the reply, "Right in the middle of it."

-- Richard C. Eyer in Pastoral Care Under the Cross


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