The Old Testament has taught us much about the language of suffering. However, it must be acknowledged that suffering is but one of many strands that are woven into a beautiful, but highly complex tapestry. The reason that we knew to follow this scarlet strand was due to suffering’s unmistakable centrality in the New Testament.
The New Testament exists, of course, because of the incarnation of the Son, Jesus Christ. Before Christ, we were only able to observe God’s will indirectly through the experience of mortals. With Christ, we have been given the wonderful privilege of directly observing God’s will for human life.
There are times when this privilege feels more like a burden as we despair over our faltering, failing attempts to live up to the standard that Christ has set. There is no reason to despair. Christ is the Victor over Sin and Death. We can live confidently in this new life.
As we pass through these passages of dark suffering, remember that Christianity is at its core a faith of light. But light would have no meaning if there were not darkness for it to shatter. We will have to wait to fully understand why so much darkness had to be let into our world. Until then, we can rejoice that:
In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1:4,5)
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:12,13)