Reading Isaiah 53: 4 – 10

To the person who has not experienced the love of God in Christ for himself, the fact of all the suffering in the world may be the very thing that prevents him from finding God. Why does a God of love allow all these things to happen? How can there be a God of love with such horror and tragedy going on? Questions such as these are wrung from the hearts of well-meaning people who don’t know God’s love at first hand for themselves. The person who has seen the reality and meaning of the Cross has a very different attitude to the question, although he may also experience the reality of suffering.

The Cross reveals certain facts to us which inform us at a deeper level of reality altogether. For example, it reminds us above everything of the awful fact of man’s own responsibility for much of the mess we find ourselves in. The Bible time and again makes a direct link between the world and man’s responsibility in it. Man was created as a responsible agent by God and given the government of every created thing. Man’s failure to carry out that responsibility is reflected tragically in the distortion and tragedy which we see all around us.

C. S. Lewis once said: `It is man, not God, who has produced racks, whips, prisons, slavery, guns, bayonets and bombs; it is by human avarice or human stupidity that we have poverty and overwork.’ (The Problem of Pain). It is not hard to apply this thesis to our own day. Although we express shock and horror at the millions who are threatened with death by hunger and disease in the Third World, it is fairly plain that with a different set of values in operation and a change of will and heart on all sides the problem would be reduced to the point of insignificance.

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