1 Peter 5:10 says, “In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.” (NLT)
I have been a Christian my entire life, a fact for which I was always known. Advocate for Christ is a position (PK, Christian college student, minister) I take more seriously than any other label. Believe me, I have many more. Because of this, I am often challenged with one particular question over every other.
If God exists, why do bad things happen?
It is a complex concept to which I have heard and given many answers. Split, however, explores this concept in a fascinating and powerful way. It portrays a very dark circumstance in a gruesome way. Indeed, this film is not for the faint of heart. The message questions everything we know about the darkness of the world and what it means to suffer.
Romans 5:3-5 says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (NLT)
Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man with a severe case of Dissociative Identity Disorder, kidnaps three girls under the command of The Beast, the most frightening of his 24 identities. He believes that those who suffer are stronger and more pure than those who do not. Those who suffer are more deserving to inherit the Earth.
This puts two of his three victims in extreme danger because of their charmed lives. Casey Cooke on the other hand carries a very dark secret. She spends most of her life greatly suffering. It gives her a unique outlook on this terrifying situation and experience necessary to survive. Unlike her friends she chooses to overcome without violence. She appeals to each personality with empathy. She is vigilant. She is resourceful. The way in which she handles this trial is a contributing factor in her survival.
Romans 8:18 says, “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.” (NLT)
I enjoy that Split is so open to the distinction between the suffering and the broken. Naturally, Father God would never condone the Beast's decision to punish and destroy the inexperienced people in the world. The Beast turns the seeds of a crucial concept into an unholy abomination. She survives because she suffers, and she emerges a stronger person. The victim becomes the victor.
Why does God allow suffering?
The real question ought to be, how could God not allow suffering?
Suffering is an essential part life. It is a temporary condition. It gives us the opportunity to become the best version of ourselves. It gives us the chance to look forward to and appreciate the glory the lies beyond this life. Embrace it. Allow God to refine you through it.