Indeed, God as the micromanaging controller of all is a horrible pastiche that has infected so much of bible believing Christianity, thanks largely to Calvin and Neo Calvinism. A real irony for a denomination steeped in Arminianism that it would give this type of portrait of God vis a vis suffering.
Wright offers corrective, as he so often does towards traditional interpretations and understandings. Jesus revealed the image of a God who surrendered his own control to human freedom, his own power to the powers that crucified him. While his suffering was redemptive, and while ours can be, not all suffering is. Jesus didn’t see it that way, nor did the apostles after him, as Wright aptly points out.
Nor do we often know the reasons or purpose, if any, for our suffering…this is the value of John 9 and the book of Job. Jesus saw an opportunity to reveal God by healing the blind man, not by entertaining his disciples’ distorted theological pictures of why the man was blind. Job’s friends should have done the same, rather than pontificating on why Job was suffering, and blaming him for it. Their long winded dissertations sprang from their absolute misunderstanding.
I think we would do well to dispense with all the spilt ink on something we also just don’t understand, and join in with what organs of secular society have carried forward from the early Christian revolution and are now doing without all the existential angst…lending a hand, giving an ear, and opening our hearts, wallets, and lives to help bring relief to others when and where needed. And, being glad and thankful when it is offered and given to ourselves.
Here is a vision of God…