We have been looking into the mystery of the love of God. (127) We have seen that the presence of evil and suffering in this world is not a contradiction of His love. (129) In fact, because He is a Protector/Defender of His children, His love is the reason those who injure the children of God end up suffering. And because He is also a Persistent Parent to His children, His love often means suffering for them because of His discipline of their evil choices. There is a third truth about God that makes His love the foundation for the presence of suffering in this world: He is a Patient Pursuer.
God as a Protector and Defender of His own is the reason for the suffering of the ungodly. God as a Persistent Parent is the reason for the suffering of His wayward children. But, God as a Patient Pursuer is the reason His children often suffer while not being guilty of any waywardness.
God seeks to bring the ungodly to faith in His love. In order to do that, He must set an example of love before them that exists in human flesh. The now ancient story of Jesus and His love as it was shown at Calvary is often too far removed from the ungodly to move them to repentance and faith. God knows this. So, because He loves the ungodly, He calls upon those who have experienced His love to demonstrate it to those who don't know it. In other words, God summons His children to live a life of love before the ungodly so that they can see what love means in human terms. And just as love meant suffering for Jesus, love still means suffering for those who would demonstrate that love. So the love of God calls for the godly to suffer pain and loss in order to show the ungodly that God cares for them. This means that God's love is behind the suffering of the children of God.
Suppose it was not so. What would the world be like if no one was willing to suffer any pain or loss? Everyone would be scrapping and clawing to preserve their own pleasure and the consequence would be that everyone's pain and losses would be far greater than they are now. There would be no children--because children are painful to bear. There would be no lovers--because love accepts pain on the behalf of the beloved. There would be no kindness--because kindness volunteers loss for someone else's gain. There would be no neighborliness--because everyone would be looking out only for himself.
On the other hand, what would the world be like if love was universal? There would be no evil. There would be no selfishness. There would be no philandering. There would be no AIDS epidemic. There would be no drug problem. There would be no war, nor any need for police. There would be no thieves. There would be no taxes. The list goes on and on.
In these days when the religious right is being hammered for its religious views, the world is better off because of those views--simply because if they didn't hold them, the persecutors would become the persecuted. Love is the reason there isn't more pain in the world, but it is also the reason for the pain that is here; the fundamental reason. More on that in another article. (131)