As I have been struggling with the sudden loss of my good friend and spiritual formation ministry partner Ryan Davis, I ran across these words I read a few years back from John Stott, who acknowledged that suffering is "the greatest single challenge to the Christian faith..."
I could never myself believe in God if it were not for the cross...In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it? In my imagination I often turn to the lonely, twisted, tortured figure of Jesus on the cross, nails through hands and feet, back lacerated, limbs wrenched, brow bleeding from thorn-pricks, mouth dry and intolerably thirsty, plunged in God-forsaken darkness. That is the God for me! He laid aside His immunity to pain. He entered our world of flesh and blood, tears and death. He suffered for us. Our sufferings became more manageable in light of His. There is still a question mark against human suffering, but over it we boldly stamp another mark, the cross which symbolizes divine suffering. 'The cross of Christ...is God's only self-justification in such a world' as ours.