People who ask why God allows suffering have never looked at Jesus properly.

Leaving there, he went, as he so often did, to Mount Olives. The disciples followed him. When they arrived at the place, he said, “Pray that you don’t give in to temptation.”  He pulled away from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, “Father, remove this cup from me. But please, not what I want. What do you want?” At once an angel from heaven was at his side, strengthening him. He prayed on all the harder. Sweat, wrung from him like drops of blood, poured off his face. Luke 22:39-44 (The Message)

Even before he was condemned and crucified Jesus submitted to suffering. He told his followers to resist temptation, the temptation to resist God’s will, and then led by example praying so earnestly that he sweated profusely. His prayer was to not have to suffer but he accepted that God’s will for him would likely involved suffering.

We don’t like the idea of suffering ourselves and so, by default, we think that suffering of any description can not be what God wills. As we journey with Jesus towards his cross this idea is exploded. If we are to fully follow Jesus then, the possibility we may need to accept suffering in our lives, by faith, becomes a visible reality. The trick, as Jesus told those who follow him, is not to be tempted to think that following him means the possibility fo suffering is automatically removed.

Lord Jesus I see you suffered in the days approaching your cross with mental anguish and fear. You were so determined to do God’s will that you avoided the temptation to think it could not be God’s will for you. Help me to do the same. Amen.

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