Blog Archive

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Paradox: The Good God of Suffering

And no one laid hands on Jesus, for His hour had not yet come.
~ John 8:20 (NKJV)

Jesus—God made Man—was both Man of Sorrows during many hours, and faced an hour in which He was allowed to experience consummate suffering.

Perhaps the greatest of all life's paradoxes is the inescapable question of why a good God allows suffering. In searching out the full circle of truth to this paradox, we find an even greater paradox—that suffering is a primary medium in which God works:

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 (NKJV)

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
~ James 1:2-3 (NKJV)

But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
~ 1 Peter 4:13 (NKJV)

Exceeding joy. This is the masterpiece God is at work to create in us.

The more that fire refines gold, the greater the glory of the gold. The more that suffering refines us, the greater the glory of our joy.

We reach the culmination of joy only through death, the gateway with potential for greatest suffering. Perfected joy is found not so much in leaving this world behind as it is in experiencing the fullness of God's presence, without the distractions of this world.

But even in current days, during this temporal era of suffering and darkness and death, we find exceeding joy when we choose to place ourselves in the presence of God amid the distractions—and through the suffering—of this world.

Exceeding joy. This is the masterpiece God is at work to create in us, through the medium of suffering, even as He created it in His Son, in His hour:

... Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith ... for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
~ Hebrews 12:1-3 (NKJV)

Next time: bringing the paradox of Christmas and Crucifixion full circle.

Comments are welcome and will receive a reply.
You may also contact author via Twitter – @anne4JC
or e-mail – buildingHisbody [plus]
Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.


  1. Anne -- there is a joy through suffering. I dont always see it right away, but looking backwards I almost always do. I'm trying to look back on those days not just with pensiveness and thoughtfulness, but joy. And that changes everthing

  2. David, perhaps this won't resonate with a man particularly well, but when I look back on the most joyous moments of my life, the ones to stand out most prominently are giving birth (x5). The exhilaration of bringing life into the world must be as close as we get to sharing the Creator's joy. But of course, each of those moments came immediately following intense suffering.

    I feel certain that God's will is to never suffer us to endure pain when He does not intend to bring from it some greater joy. How I wish we were not so weak as to have our spiritual vision clouded by pain.

  3. For me, it has been the analogy of the olive press. Just blogged that today. I have been crushed beyond recognition. But I can honestly say, I feel shiny, and beautiful because of the oil of His grace that is the result of the crushing. Thank you fo sharing on a topic that needs more attention in the body of Christ!

  4. I cannot say that I suffered in my life... yes, I felt pain but suffering not really... maybe only a little bit in giving birth... but I still remember this feeling of complete joy after when my heart sang and I prayed for medical staff...

  5. Anne, lately, every time God lays something on my heart to blog about, I find it on your site before I get the chance to finish.

    We must be listening to the same God!

    Thank you so much, for your say it so much more eloquently than I.

    God bless!

  6. "We gaze upon Thy weakness -
    The manger and the cross;
    We love Thee for Thy meekness
    Through suff'ring , pain and loss."

    J N Darby

  7. Kimberly, I know that feeling of being crushing beyond recognition. I understand what it is to feel that none of me is left.


    We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. (2 Corinthians 4:8-10)

    Yes, the beautiful oil of His grace preserves us through the fellowship of His sufferings. He is pressing us, not to become less of what we are, but to become more of all we are meant to be.

    Hugs to you. ♥

  8. Nataša, my heart is so happy to hear that you have not experienced anything that you consider suffering. Perhaps suffering lies before you, perhaps our Lord shall spare you. Or perhaps your joy shines so brightly that whatever difficulties you've had in life, they haven't even seemed like suffering in comparison to the wonderful joy of knowing our Lord.

    Whatever it is, you make me smile. :D

  9. Joe, I trust that the Lord gives you whatever words best communicate with your own audience. It's really good to hear you confirm that the Holy Spirit is getting through to both me and you. Your presence is a true blessing. I thank God for you.

  10. We love Thee for Thy meekness ...

    David, the words you share from J.N. Darby stir my heart anew with love for my precious Jesus. Thank you.

  11. Through suffering, I always find His joy shining through the darkness.

  12. I pray, Denise, that dark hours of suffering are but the backdrop against which our Lord's Light shines most brightly. Much love to you!


Your comments are appreciated and you can expect a reply. If Blogger doesn't accept your comment, or if you prefer
another method, I hope you'll respond via Twitter or email
(see sidebar icons or the "Contact Me" tab, above).

(Comments to older posts and will appear after approval.)