Barth on the Suffering of God

‘‎What is our suffering when we recollect that God has Himself felt it so keenly as to give His only begotten son in order to remove it? Our suffering for sin has not touched us, and cannot touch us, as it touches Him. So we can never take it to our hearts in this way. When we realise the full depth of our sorrow as it is seen borne and suffered by God Himself, any complaint of ours as to the form in which it confronts and affects us is silenced. Our lamenting is comes too late is always relatively too weak. Indeed, it is always ineffective and in the end untrue. For what is the use of our lamenting when the heart of misery is to make good? Who can complain when God has to complain, when the right to complain is His right alone? It is His heart, not ours, which is suffering when we think we are the sufferers and that have a right or obligation to reverse the relationship and behave as though we have to suffer, as it were, in the void, divinely, eternally, or on our own account? In the recognition and confession of the mercy of God, what we are accustomed to take so seriously as the tragedy of human existence is dissolved. There is something far more serious and tragic, viz., the fact that our distress – the anguish of our sin and guilt – is freely accepted by God, and that in Him, and only in Him, it becomes real agony.’ (Karl Barth, ‘Church Dogmatics, II.1, p. 374)

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