Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” Revelation 21:5
For those who have gone through suffering, either as primary or secondary agents, you know how unbearable, and indeed undesirable it is. It wakes up questions that have been slumbering for long, questions you never thought existed, questions that tears cannot drown nor thoughts answer.
Even for us Christians, our trust in Christ can be shaken to the core. That is what happened to Job, the most righteous man on earth in his day, the blameless and upright.
We cannot have all the answers as to why God allows untold suffering in this world. There are many questions, I believe, that the family of the late Felix Kawesi, the former AIGP are asking. And sometimes trying to suppress them creates more frustration. We wonder, ‘why God’.
As Timothy Keller, in his book ‘The Reason for God’ rightly mentioned, beyond the philosophical response to the question of suffering lies the relational one. Suffering affects relationship.
But at the heart of Christianity is Christ. In Him all things consist, including the meaning of and consolation in suffering. The God Christianity proclaims is not aloof when we suffer. If we understand Christianity well, it says that God, far from being unconcerned and unmoved by our suffering, actually became like us, lived with us, suffered like us, and died at the hands of wickedness.
And because of this, though we may still not understand why evil is, or what good is in suffering, or why God allows it, we learn still, as Keller puts it, that God doesn’t allow it because of His not loving us. In Christ, His love is demonstrated. When Christ cried ‘My God My God, why have you forsaken Me?’, this question was not a philosophical one requiring an answer, for He being God knew. It was a relational question, for He who eternally is One with the Father was in a moment of eternity separate from Him by reason of our sin.
That He could endure this for us a demonstration beyond doubt of His love for us. But beyond the evidence that God does not allow suffering for lack of His love for us is the resurrection, a demonstration of His power over evil and death. This resurrection, the foundation of the Christian hope and faith also is the great reversal, more than mere consolation, but the restoration of all goodness beyond our wildest imagination.
We don’t just endure to the end, we endure because of the end. Because we see where we are going, and because we have seen the destination demonstrated in Christ, we endure this current struggle and pain. The Christian hope is both in Christ and Christ. Relationships are mended in Him. First, there is a restoration of humanity’s broken relationship with God, and second, racial and gender divides are healed. And this healing is eternal.
God in Christ is making and will make all things new, not just as a consolation. Picture darkness being folded like a garment by light. Picture tears rolling backwards to the tear fountain and then dried. Picture death being undone by life, and the completer restoration of everything dead. And then picture an unending fountain of joy that instantly causes the past memories of fear and anguish to appear like distant rumors.
When He promises to make all things new, do not imagine He will make things as they were in the beginning. He will. But He will do infinitely more than that, for to stop at the beginning is to invite the same drama, but to transcend the beginning is to set into motion the irreversible current of glorious events that we will forever live to marvel at. He who promised is faithful and He will do it!
‘He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”’ Revelation 21:5