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Even if you don’t believe it happened, imagine for a moment that Easter is true.  Imagine that Jesus actually did rise from the dead.  Imagine that, after suffering the unimaginable horror of crucifixion, Jesus really was resurrected with a glorified body.  What would that say about suffering? 

Suffering is undoubtedly the major stumbling block to faith in a loving God, and rightly so.  In the face of so much senseless suffering, it’s practically impossible to understand how a good God could exist.  We could understand how a God who allows suffering for some greater good could exist.    

But with so much suffering, there’s no apparent greater good that could ever justify it.  While examples abound, just consider one: Newtown, the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  What possible greater good is there that could ever come out of a tragedy like that? 

This is not to say that good doesn’t come out of suffering.  Most of us can look back on a period of suffering in our lives and point to some good that came out of it.  Even though it wasn’t apparent—we couldn’t see it at the time—we realized later that the pain made us better people, put us on a better path, made us appreciate life more, and so forth. 

In light of tragedies like Newtown, though, I cringe when people say that God only allows suffering for some greater good.  There is no good great enough to offset or justify the immensity of such suffering.  That tragedy, like many others, inspired acts of self-sacrificing heroism, brought people together, created a sense of unity, generated an overwhelming outpouring of love and support, and revealed the best in humanity.  But was this enough to justify God allowing the brutal murder of twenty innocent children and six adults?  Not even close.

The problem is that no earthly, finite good ever could justify the immensity of suffering.

But this is exactly where Easter comes in.  If Easter is true, then God really does bring a greater good out of suffering—an infinitely greater good—that makes suffering more than worth it, at least for those who trust their lives and eternity to Him. 

Christians usually say that, since Jesus is risen, He will one day put an end to suffering and death. 

True, but it’s actually way better than that.

If He really is risen; if this Jesus who endured the most excruciating suffering anyone could—as I’ve said in other blogs, if He really is God, then He not only suffered the unimaginable horror of crucifixion, but the infinite pain of separation from the infinite love of the Trinity…

If His life ended in what appeared to be history’s greatest tragedy—the “savior of the world”  tortured and killed in the most humiliating of deaths on an ignominious hill outside of Jerusalem…

If this Jesus then rose from the dead three days later in a glorified body, no longer bound by space and time, transformed to the transcendent sphere—then He didn’t just put an end to suffering and death.  He completely transformed it.  And that’s what He will do to our suffering too.

See, Jesus didn’t just come back to life.  He didn’t just return in some kind of perfected state where he’d be immune to disease and pain, the best anyone in that time could have expected or imagined.  He came back in a glorified body, one that transcended space and time, one that no one in that day, in their wildest dreams, could have ever imagined. 

This usually goes right over our heads.  But the resurrection accounts are abundantly clear.  His victory over the grave was infinitely greater than anyone could have ever conceived.  God took the worst tragedy the world has ever known and turned it into an incomprehensibly greater wonder.

And this means that, in Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection, God has revealed that our suffering doesn’t just come to an end one day.  No, He will somehow radically reverse it, utterly transform it, actually USE it to increase our bliss in eternity.  Suffering will ultimately serve to bring us to greater heights of joy.   

Of course, this side of eternity, there’s no way we can even begin to comprehend how.  Eternity transcends space and time, and what God can and will do in that realm is completely beyond our finite imagination—it’s that mind-bogglingly awesome!

But Easter has clearly revealed that this is exactly what He will do.  For those who love Him, He will bring an infinitely greater good out of our suffering.  For those who love Him, there is no such thing as senseless suffering; suffering is never meaningless.  No matter how excruciating, horrific, or tragic, nothing is wasted. 

Just as Jesus’ crushed and crucified body was glorified to the transcendent realm, God will use our suffering to intensify our ecstasy in His presence in eternity.

This is what Easter has to do with suffering.

So, do you think Easter is true?  Do you think God can bring a greater good out of suffering?

Go to the “Contact E.J.” page of the Raising Jesus website and let me know what you think!  Also, please like our Facebook page, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and keep telling your friends about us.  Thank you!

About Me

E.J. Sweeney is a true skeptic. He needs to see to believe. Hard Evidence. Compelling Proof. Solid Logic. This is what he believes in. In college, he encountered questions that the superficial faith he was raised on couldn’t handle. So he began a quest for Truth, a quest for the answers to life’s ultimate questions.

EJ Sweeney

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