So also we have the words of King David, loved of God, but who cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?" Psalm 22:1 These are the words which Jesus Christ, the Son of God, also pronounced on the cross, identifying with that Psalm written 1000 years before his crucifixion. If we continue in the Psalm we notice that it is characterized by a spirit of trusting in God in the midst of trouble. "Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed." Ps 22:3-5 In fact the last 10 verses of the Psalm are rather upbeat.
It is not that Jesus was actually in despair. For he was well aware of the purpose of his impending death of which he had already prayed about the previous night and of which he had previously spoken of to his disciples. But much of the Psalm is messianic and contains details of his death pointing to him as the Messiah. Beyond this I think he also provided an answer to those who suffer unjustly - that they should continue to trust God. If God did not spare his own Son, neither may he spare the rest of us. In fact the New Testament perspective is that enduring in faith in the midst of unjust suffering is virtuous and even enhances our faith. "So then, those who suffer according to Godís will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good." 1Peter 4:19
For example we have Paul who writes, "We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead." 2Cor 1:8,9
I think the paradigm of "parent" is still appropriate and consistent if we increase our vision of the circumstances as much as God is greater than an earthly father, and what is spiritual is much greater than what is material. For example things that are material are temporary. Things which are spiritual are eternal.
Being too earthly and materialistically minded we tend to measure suffering too much in earthly terms. It is not that the suffering has little value in God's eyes. Quite the contrary, much of the suffering here has much more value than the earthly-minded even realize. Christ's death on the cross for example paid the penalty for the sins of the world. But the degree of suffering we face seems lessened as we gain a spiritual perspective. Think you've got problems? Consider Paul's suffering of which he writes in comparison to other Christian workers saying, "I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches."2Cor 11:23-28 And yet he also writes, "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Romans 8:18 God has a way of consoling his people who suffer. "For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows." 2 Corinthians 1:5
It should not be so important what happens to us. More important is how we react to it.
2 Corinthians 7:9 now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us.
Genesis 50:20 "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."
In this case Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, but ultimately God used it to deliver Jacob's family from the famine. This is not to justify evil deeds, but rather to show that God may use them to accomplish a greater good. Those who do evil will of course be punished, but beyond that at first it may seem that no good can come out of an evil act. But hindsight is often 20/20 and thus after some time one may imagine scenarios whereby we would be worse off in the present if this or that hadn't happened.
There's also suffering due to our own sinfulness. Jeremiah writes, "Why should any living man complain when punished for his sins? Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD. Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say: "We have sinned and rebelled and you have not forgiven. "You have covered yourself with anger and pursued us; you have slain without pity. You have covered yourself with a cloud so that no prayer can get through. You have made us scum and refuse among the nations. "All our enemies have opened their mouths wide against us. We have suffered terror and pitfalls, ruin and destruction."Lam 3:39-47 But also "The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;" Lam 3:25
Here's a very interesting example which incorporates a spiritual concept about death which may be far from the earthly minded: 2Kings 22:18-20 Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, ĎThis is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people, that they would become accursed and laid waste, and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the LORD. Therefore I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.í
Essentially this is saying, "Because you are pleasing to the Lord therefore I have good news! You're going to die soon!" And while this may be baffling to some, at times we see the same attitude cropping up throughout the Bible, such as when Paul says, "to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;" Php 1:21-23 The righteous have good inheritance to look forward to after death, secure and free from earthly concerns. And God may take them away quickly to spare them from impending evil. Isaiah 57:1 "The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil."
There are many reasons why God allows bad things to happen, some of which we can read of in the Bible, and some of which we might guess or imagine, and some of which we can't comprehend. But in the end our reaction comes down to pride versus humility. It's either IN GOD WE TRUST, or our trust is in someone or something else.
But now Islam is at a crossroads. Muslims will either have to renounce terrorism or view it as a legitimate part of their Holy War. People ask why God allowed it to happen. But they forget that God may have prevented such things from happening many times in the past. It's amazing that we lasted through the Cold War without a serious nuclear incident for example. But I think God is sick and tired of Islamic terrorism. But neither Muslims nor non-Muslims have been willing to take serious action against it until God allowed the terrorists to succeed in this case. I don't know of any time in history when the vast majority of Muslims have publically denounced Islamic terrorism as we've seen in recent days. Many are of course are doing so falsely in the name of political correctness. But what will be interesting to see after the dust settles and actions have been taken by the US is which crossroad the Islamic community will finally take.
Christianity has had its own crossroads. There were times when Catholics and Protestants committed bloodthirsty violent unjust acts in the name of God. But God brought these to light and that time has past. Now it's Islam's turn to repent.
The Berean Christian Bible Study