Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. Isaiah 53:10
We struggle with passages that tell us God sends suffering to innocent people. It messes with our concept of a compassionate God. It’s helpful to separate those things which God initiates and those things he allows.
However Jewish thinking doesn’t make this distinction. They saw God as Sovereign and therefore responsible for everything that happens. Everything comes from his hand. Theologically they have no problem with God sending suffering.
Pain is the outcome of living in a broken world and while God could stop difficulties from arising, he allows them to continue because he can see the greater good. We see the enormous damage sin has caused, not only to us personally but to God and his creation. It makes us realise the depth of depravity people sink to without God, and even creation groans (Romans 8:22).
Isaiah describes Christ’s suffering as an offering for sin. It brings forgiveness and freedom from sin. It was an enormous price to pay, Jesus was crushed for our iniquities, but the benefits continue to flow on through generation after generation. One day, because of Jesus’ sacrificial death, we will see the restoration of all God intended and our gratitude will be immense.
While suffering is hard to understand and difficult to deal with, we have hope because the Cross promises us that God hasn’t forsaken us and that he has a plan for restoration.