God Doesn’t Do Control.

What does the power of the cross mean for us? Or for those who suffer? It means the same Christ crucified on Good Friday now fills the universe with his cruciform love. He does not passively and powerlessly witness the abuse of his children or the oppression of the poor and ‘do nothing.’ Rather, enters the suffering, experiences the anguish, lives the sorrow for all, with all, for all the time. The Christlike God drinks our cup of suffering. The Lamb slain bore it all, right down to the foundations of the cosmos. Secondary causes nailed him to the Tree of affliction. And what did Christ do? In love, he consented to co-suffer with us in solidarity.

In that sense, I say God is in charge, but he is not in control, because he doesn’t do control. Sometimes I wish he did, but as I scan history and humanity, I don’t see him controlling. Sometimes he seems and feels absent, distant and silent, weak or maybe even dead. Did God simply die and abandon us all to go to ‘hell in a hand basket’?

No! Rather than control and coerce, God-in-Christ cares and consents to suffer with and for us. We don’t concede to the false image of a ‘lame duck’ dad who sits by silently, watching his kids getting beaten by the bully. Instead, we look to the true image of the cruciform — Christ himself — the One who heard our groans and came down to suffer and die with us in order to overcome affliction, defeat death and raise us up to live and reign with him.

— Bradley Jersak, A More Christlike God, p. 133

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