Our Creator, the one in whom “we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28), suffered in humanity in ways that none of us ever could. We only experience our own griefs, our own sorrows; at the cross He bore “our griefs, and carried our sorrows” (Isa. 53:4)—all of them. It’s the most amazing act in all cosmic history.
With that background (that of the crucified God lifted up before us), we will for the next few months seek to better comprehend the incomprehensible—our own suffering, the sufferings of Christians, of those committed to Christ. We make no claims to have all the answers or even many; we’re claiming only that “God is love” (1 John 4:8) and that although these things happen, we can trust God despite them and, indeed, grow in grace through them, no matter how painful the process.
This quarter we will study the Word of God and see how other flesh and blood, though radiated in faith, nevertheless faced despair, betrayal, disappointment, loss, injustice, and abuse (sound like anything you can relate to?). How did they cope? What did they learn? What can their examples teach us?
As we look at these people, their experiences, their struggles, and their trials of faith (which might be much like our own), we must always see them contrasted against the background of the Cross. We must always remember that no matter what anyone faces, Jesus Christ, our Creator and Redeemer, went through worse.
Our lessons are an attempt to help us work through the inevitable suffering we all face in a world full of sin. We will try to show that pain, suffering, and loss don’t mean that God has abandoned us. Through Jesus and the hope He offers, purpose can be found in what seems meaningless and purposeless and that we can trust the promise that “all things work together for good to those who love God” (Rom. 8:28, NKJV.