I’m currently studying God’s role in suffering. I think it’s important because if you believe God is sovereign you have to do something with all the suffering in the world. What is God’s role in that? It helps to have it settled in your own heart so when suffering comes, which it does for everyone, you can see God’s working and therefore see how it effects your relationship with him. I want to prepare my children so they know when bad times come it is not a time to blame God and run from him in bitterness. It is a time to embrace God and see his work in our suffering so that we would be closer to him.
I found the following two quotes very eye opening in regards to the importance of knowing these things and how most people, and the church in general, avoid associating God in any way with suffering.
“Most Christians readily rationalize away God’s role in personal and human suffering. In an effort to protect God’s moral nature and his being the source of only that which is good, an understanding of his sovereignty is diminished as well as the glory he derives when we recognize his victory over all that is evil.” — Jerry Rankin
“The church has not been spending its energy to go deep with the unfathomable God of the Bible. Against the overwhelming weight and seriousness of the Bible, much of the church is choosing, at this very moment, to become more light and shallow and entertainment-oriented, and therefore successful in its irrelevance to massive suffering and evil. The popular God of fun-church is simply too small and too affable to hold a hurricane in his hand. The biblical categories of God’s sovereignty lie like land mines in the pages of the Bible waiting for someone to seriously open the book. They don’t kill, but they do explode trivial notions of the Almighty.” — John Piper