Sunday, December 5, 2010

Why must we suffer?

The question I often ponder is, does God himself suffer along with innocents beneath him?
Must he suffer in order to seek compassion for those on Earth who have suffered as well?
How do we know? How do we not? The Bible does not clearly demonstrate any accounts of justification for innocent suffering, but the message may be hidden beneath the verses.

We question why innocent children die and why the Holocaust occured, and if God was a God of compassion, how can he allow suffering among his people? But we come to these understandings without fully embelleshing ourselves in the Books of the New Testament, and diving in deep to the questions that may be answered under the compelling literature.

I came across an interesting passage as I was reading Revelations.

"And I heard a great voice out of Heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."

I really enjoyed reading this because it places God on both a physical and emotional level with man rather than him being above these emotions that we fill ourselves with. He may often have the same emotions that we uphold, and take in the pain of suffering.

Another question I often ponder is what if one persons' suffering is another persons' refuge? How do we define the true and ultimate term of suffering? When is it suffering and when is it not? For example, the death penalty is what made me wonder of this. The person being put to death is obviously suffering from feelings of terror and shame, but on the other end the suffering becomes less daunting as the family of an innocent victim sees the guilty person put to death, and justice becomes the result of the suffering.

In a way, my thoughts coincide with the Book of Job. Job says that he has not sinned, and so his suffering is unjustified. But the case of the death penalty, in some contexts, has an opposite approach. The person who is suffering from being put to death is convicted as gulity, and the family members of the victim have an ease of suffering.

If I take a historical look at suffering and the death penalty, the women that were convicted of being witches and sentenced to death in the Salem Witch Trials, were in fact innocent. But they suffered along with guilty upon false accusations. If I begin to wonder how often this may occur within death penalty cases, it makes me think that suffering will never be justified, and there will always be unjust suffering. But then again, this may be more of a political view for me to have, rather than a biblical view. :)

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