Today is Good Friday – a day where the Christian church around the world slows down to reflect upon the death of Jesus so many years ago. Every year it forces me to remember and reconsider what the gospel is all about. And every year it stirs up different thoughts, emotions, and questions for me.
One particular question I find myself asking in this season is - why does life have to be so hard? When I meet to people in the counseling office, get together with to people at church, spend time with my own family, and listen what is going on in my own heart – I see that suffering is an inescapable reality for every one of us.
But how do we reconcile God’s goodness with the pervasive difficulty of life? Theologians, philosophers, and countless others have given numerous answers, but we still find ourselves asking the same old question, year after year.
As I prepare for our church service tonight, I realize that Good Friday doesn’t give an exhaustive answer, but it certainly gives us something very important to think about. It reminds us that Jesus enters our darkness and suffers on our behalf.
In Greek & Roman mythology, the gods were simply bigger versions of us – same desires, same struggles, but with much more power. But the message of Christianity presents something radically different. God isn’t simply a powerful being who uses humanity as slaves to satisfy petty cravings. God loves his people so much that he dies to rescue them. This was so foreign to the Roman world that they the best word they could find to describe it was ‘foolish.’
Good Friday says to us – look at the cross, look at the wounds, look at the crown of thorns – behold your God. Jesus enters our sufferings and takes on the weight of our sin. We are known and we are loved, and the cost for our rescue is not cheap.
This doesn’t answer all of our questions on why life has to be so hard, but it reminds us that our God is no stranger to suffering. We can be confident that the reason behind our suffering is not indifference or cruelty on God’s part. We can trust whole heartedly that a love this big is up to something very good in all this.