By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)
Quite often, people blame God for all of the suffering in the world.
I remember one Bible study I had with a person who believed that God was to blame for all the horrors in the universe because He knew that Adam and Eve would choose to eat from the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. God had told them not to eat from that Tree, knowing full well that they would do so. As a result, the world was introduced to suffering and death through sin (Genesis 3:1-17).
His question was:
How could God do that?!
Indeed, we know that the Tree of Knowledge cost man greatly. When he chose to sin, man brought suffering and death to the world.
But have you ever stopped to consider what that tree cost God?
“I used to be very angry with God about that tree. Tempting them like that? It was only a matter of time before they wouldn’t be able to restrain themselves. And then what? He blames them ? How long did God expect they would make it before, to their ears, the “you can eat everything but that one tree” became “you can eat everything but that one tree”?…I have come to appreciate the risk of that tree for God— and the necessity of that tree for us. Simply put, that tree made us real: it gave us choice. God wasn’t looking to make some complicated hamsters that he could set up in a sweet cage. He created us for real relationship with him. Real relationship simply cannot exist if you cannot choose something else other than that relationship. We pity a woman whose husband or boyfriend keeps her locked in their house, monitors the few phone calls he allows her to have, and keeps even her family at arm’s length. No one would call that love. Had God not offered the tree and with it the opportunity to rebel against him, he would have been that guy. Love that isn’t chosen is forced. In giving us that tree and making the warning very clear, he gave us choice, even the option to reject his guidance and companionship. He knew very well that decision would cost him dearly, but it was what was best for us.” (Jim Pace, Should We Fire God? Finding Hope In God When We Don’t Understand, 829-842 (Kindle Edition); New York, NY; FaithWords Hachette Book Group)
Stop and consider beloved.
No matter what suffering we have endured, Christ on the Cross endured more.
I don’t mean simply the physical trauma of crucifixion (although that is beyond my understanding).
I am talking about the SPIRITUAL trauma that happened at Calvary.
The sin of the entire WORLD was placed on Jesus. He went to Calvary that He “might taste death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9).
He suffered the full wrath of God (Romans 5:8-9).
The perfect love and intimacy of the Godhead was broken so that you and I could be saved from our sinfulness (Psalm 22).
Before God created, He knew the decisions that man would make. He knew what it would cost Him to save us from His perfect holiness and wrath.
He knew that He would have to endure a life of temptation, being tempted as we are in every way.
He knew that His closest friends would betray Him and forsake Him in His darkest hour.
He knew that He would have to make the long trek to Golgotha.
He knew that He would be hated, despised, whipped, tortured, broken, humiliated, and in every way experience suffering beyond degree.
He knew that the Tree of Knowledge would lead to the tree of Calvary.
He knew all of these things, and STILL deemed that Tree of Knowledge worthy.
Freedom was worth the price. In His Divine grace, God deemed relationship with us worth the cost that He would have to pay.
THAT is love, my friends. It is love that He has for you and that has the power to set us free from all sin and from the clutches of Hell itself (Romans 8:37-39).
Why not today accept His loving offer by repenting of your sin and being baptized into Him (Acts 2:38)? Why not come back Home if you are a Christian who has left the faith? In repentance and prayer, you can find restoration and healing (1 John 1:9-2:2).
The grace of The Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.