I had a thought several years ago that suffering is a way to deepen the wells of love and joy that we can give the world. Of course, our ultimate example is the cross of Christ. Whereas, before the cross, we were enemies in our own mind against God, believing that he was against us. After the cross, we see the passionate unveiling of that lie as his very life source was poured out.
Most of Christendom reduces the Cross to a legal exchange. My sin <–> His blood. While that is true, it is first and foremost about revealing our true identity as his children and that he never saw us as separate from him.
While I do not believe that Christ makes us suffer, it cannot be avoided. Usually, it is not until we have experienced a hardship that we can truly be empathetic for those in that place. In turn, we are more responsive to love when it comes from someone who can truly empathize with us.
It’s the drug addict that can fully empathize with another drug addict. It’s the assault victim that can fully empathize with another assault victim. It’s the sick person that can fully empathize with another sick person. But the beauty of the Cross and His precious blood is that our empathy, our love that comes from our own wounds, has power to break those chains. We are not stuck there. We can be free.