We have been looking (127) into the mystery of the love of God. On the one hand, His love is so great that He gave His Son to die in the place of sinners. On the other hand, His love is so great that He will cast all those who reject Jesus into the Lake of Fire. Most people think that the existence of pain and suffering is a valid argument against the existence of a loving God. What they don't realize is that the existence of pain and suffering is caused by the love of God.
We argued (128) that it is God's love for His children that means suffering and death and eternal condemnation for those who would do final harm to them. This means that His love is at the root of judgment upon the ungodly.
Some will reply, however, that it is not only the ungodly who suffer. That is true enough. However, the love of God is not just the love of a Protector-Defender. It is also the love of a Persistent Parent. Who among us would refuse to slap the hand of a small child who was about to stick his finger in an electrical socket? God is greater than we are in His love for His children. When He sees them make foolish and hurtful choices, His love compels Him to discipline them for their own good. The Bible frankly admits that discipline is not pleasant. In fact, it is painful; it causes suffering; and it can even result in death. But, because it is discipline of a wayward child, it is motivated by love--the love of God for His kids.
Who among us would listen to the foolish outburst of a small child who accuses his parent of not loving him because he has just gotten his hand slapped, or his bottom spanked, because he was doing something he ought not do? We would recognize immediately that the child was foolish, didn't understand, and would profit from the pain. Yet, when God does it to us, we conveniently forget that we would call it foolish for the small child to do what we want to do--say God doesn't exist because of our pain; or, worse, say that He is evil because of our pain.
The wonder of the love of God is that it is great enough that He tolerates our stupidity in our reasoning. He knows that we are just ignorant children seeking to blame someone else for our pain when we know deep in our gut that the blame is ours.
Now, admittedly, there are some who actually refuse to admit that the blame exists in themselves. But these are those whom God has forsaken. An easy conscience in the face of real guilt only means that the conscience has been seared and that God has given up trying to get through to the person. Many of us are like this: we have no relationship with God and we are plenty contented with that fact. Our condemnation is legitimate and is coming. In that day, our mouths will be shut by the reality that there really is a God and that He really does love--but we won't get to enter into that reality.
Thus, pain and suffering are not a valid reason for us to say there is no God, or to say there is no loving God. Actually, those realities tell us there really is a God of love Who acts in amazing consistency as a Persistent Parent.
Is He your Father?