“When the Centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, ‘Surely this man was the Son of God.'” ~Mark 15:3
If we concentrate on the cross, if we pay attention to how Jesus died, then we will really see the whole thing clearly. The Gospel of Mark makes that point in the way it tells the story. The Centurion proclaims at the end of the story what had been declared by the author in the opening line: Jesus Christ is the Son of God. This Roman soldier recognized it, the life-changing truth was revealed to him, when he saw how Jesus died.
And I think this is helpful.
When you are suffering, it may not always be clear to you why you’re suffering. You may not know the reason you’re suffering. Just like Jesus’ suffering didn’t make sense to his disciples, maybe you can’t figure out why you’re in so much pain.
When you see Jesus on the cross, you can at least know what the reason for your suffering isn’t. When you see how Jesus died, you can at least know what are not reasons for your suffering.
It’s not that God doesn’t love you. He does. Very much. Jesus hung on that cross in agony, but the Father’s love for his Son wasn’t diminished or compromised one bit.
It’s not that God doesn’t have a plan for you. He does. It’s not that God has abandoned you. He hasn’t.
The cross actually shows us God’s presence in suffering and that God is at work and doing marvelous things — eternally significant things! — even in your suffering. Even in the middle of your pain and darkness. Even when your suffering doesn’t make sense.
God is present. He loves you. And he is at work.