Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.Isaiah 53:10
This is a good verse to reflect on deeply whenever we find ourselves struggling with God’s providence in trying to understand events that cause great pain and suffering throughout our world. Why do poor, defenceless people suffer while less-worthy, self-serving manipulators prosper? Is God loving and caring, but powerless to do anything about the situation? Or is he all-powerful, but has no concern for those who suffer? Is God really just?
The way God reveals himself to us in Scripture, and demonstrates the utter trustworthiness of this revelation in the consistent outworking of history, can leave us in no doubt that the God of the Bible – the Only True God – IS perfectly and unconditionally LOVING, and that he IS ALL-POWERFUL and SOVEREIGN over EVERY PART and ASPECT of his Creation, and that he IS unquestionably JUST in ALL his dealings. The Bible allows us absolutely NO wriggle-room in any of these aspects of his character. So, why do we see so many instances of the ‘good’ suffering and the ‘bad’ prospering?
In this struggle, it is helpful to consider the CENTRAL event of the whole Bible, the FOCUS of its entire message: the intense suffering and cruel death of the ONLY perfectly innocent Man that ever lived on earth – JESUS, the Son of God. Our loving heavenly Father himself reveals through his Prophet Isaiah, more than seven centuries before it actually happened in human history, that it was HIS WILL to CRUSH his Son and CAUSE HIM TO SUFFER, and he also provides the answer to our question, ‘WHY?’ It was to bring about the most wonderful outcome we could ever imagination: the ETERNAL SALVATION of all his Elect! Yes, “he WILL SEE his offspring and prolong his days, and THE WILL OF THE LORD WILL PROSPER in his hand.”
In the NT we see Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, questioning his Father if there is not some OTHER way to achieve this outcome; and we have proof in the events that followed that there WASN’T. If I stake all my life and trust on the truth of what God reveals about these things, I must also bow humbly before him and acknowledge that he has some ultimately good purpose in EVERY ASPECT of his Providence, even, and especially, when, from my limited perspective and inadequate logic, some things might seem to me to be unfair and incomprehensible. I spent 15 years of my life studying and working as a Civil Engineer, and it has been a hard lesson for me to learn that life is less about UNDERSTANDING, and MORE about TRUSTING!