The suffering Sovereign

By Dave Henning / January 20, 2014

Timothy Keller extends his discussion of Jesus as the suffering sovereign in Chapter 7 of Walking with God through Pain and Suffering.  The author notes that these two truths complement, rather than contradict, each other.  He cites Ronald Rittgers from his book Reformation of Suffering:

“The God who has no causal relationship to suffering is no God at all, certainly not the God of the Bible . . . who is both suffering and sovereign.  Both beliefs were (and are) essential to the traditional Christian assertion that suffering ultimately has some meaning.”

Pastor Keller asserts that if history isn’t under God’s control, then suffering is random and senseless, not part of any plan.  On the other hand, how can we trust a God who has not suffered?

According to the author, the two truths that God is both suffering and sovereign lead to “many rich and powerful implications”:

1.  Because suffering is both just and unjust, we are free to cry out and pour out our grief without the added toxicity of bitterness.

2.  Because God is both suffering and sovereign, we can be confident our suffering has meaning even though we cannot see that meaning.

3.  Since we trust Jesus because He earned our trust on the cross, we can trust Him even when he hasn’t shown us the reason for our suffering.

Today’s question: Which implication of God’s suffering and sovereignty is most meaningful to you?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Consolation and restoration”

About the author

Dave Henning

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