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|The Longsuffering of God Has a Limit
"How do You live with it, Lord?"
That's a question I recently asked God in prayer as I thought about all of the suffering taking place around the world today, especially as human beings slaughter one another in the most horrific and barbaric ways, including reports of Muslim radicals beheading Christian children.
"Lord, how do You live with so much suffering and pain when you see it and know it all?"
As Basilea Schlink once said, "Anyone who loves as much as God does, cannot help suffering. And anyone who really loves God will sense that He is suffering."
For our finite human minds, this is a
great paradox, since the Word tells us that in God's presence is fullness of joy (Ps. 16:11), and yet we know that His heart also grieves over humanity's broken condition. Did Paul experience this on some level when he said that he was "grieving yet always rejoicing" (2 Cor. 6:10)?
But there is not only divine grief over human suffering. There is also divine grief over human sin, as Genesis 6 tells us immediately before the flood: "And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart" (Gen. 6:6).
There was so much wickedness, so much violence, so much depravity, so much sin. What happened to this exquisite
race of people created in His own image?
My precious wife, Nancy, who sometimes weeps in prayer for hours because of human suffering, suggested to me that God's pain over His sinning creation could be likened to the pain experienced by parents who waited for years to have a baby, and then, after what seemed like an endless wait, found out they were having a child.
The parents got the baby' s room all ready and bought all kinds of little toys and clothes in readiness for their child' read