“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” (Psalm 63:3 ESV)
As we seek to understand difficult doctrines like hell, election, the existence of evil, and unjust suffering, it is good to affirm the sovereignty of God over it all and the glory of God as the ultimate purpose of it all. But we must also remember that God is not some unsympathetic, distant deity doing all that He pleases with no thought of His people.
God loves those whom He has won to Himself through His Son. God loves His redeemed people beyond measure. His love is an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3). Since our sins have been forgiven and His wrath removed, God relates to His people on the basis of His love for them.
This means that even in suffering God loves us. He brings us into suffering because He loves us. He sustains us through suffering because He loves us. And He wants us to know how much He loves us in the midst of suffering.
Adversity is often the best way to know someone’s love for you. When you are defeated, discouraged, or devastated, who is it that comes to you and cares for you? When you feel all alone, who is always with you?
It is the God who loves you and will never let you go. David understood this as he faced great suffering in his own life: “Your steadfast love is better than life.” Even while in the desert on the run from enemies, he could affirm that God’s love is faithful and it is better.
Suffering should not cause us to question God’s love. It should awaken us to His love. God’s love for you is steadfast through your darkest hours. It is in suffering that you can realize His love for you is better than life itself.
One day Charles Spurgeon was walking through the English countryside with a friend. As they strolled along, Spurgeon noticed a barn with a weather vane on its roof. At the top of the vane were these words: GOD IS LOVE. Spurgeon remarked to his companion that he thought this was a rather inappropriate place for such a message. “Weather vanes are changeable,” he said. “But God’s love is constant.”
“I don’t agree with you about those words, Charles,” replied his friend. “You misunderstand the meaning. That sign is indicating a truth: Regardless of which way the wind blows, God is love.”
Suffering does not mean that God loves you less. Instead, it is an opportunity for you to see how much He really loves you. The sovereign God who works all things for His own glory also shows His love to His people in all things. So suffering is a place to experience and affirm that His “steadfast love is better than life.” His love will never let you go.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 ESV)