Endurance

Have you considered historical suffering as a way to make sense of your own trials? Like countless others from generations past, have you ever asked, “Why me?” I have. In a recent teaching, God planted this seed in my psyche, and it has germinated a few weeks now. Consider the following as a way to keep things in perspective during your most intense times of suffering.

Jesus. We hear his name a lot, however, not always in flattering context. Have you considered why people utter his name in times of discontent, in gratitude, or in cries for help? He’s relatable. He’s one of us; he knows what it’s like to live day to day; he knows what it’s like to be happy, encouraged, and relish the love of family and friends. He knows what it’s like to be alone, lonely, exhausted, judged, condemned, hungry, thirsty, tempted, humiliated, empty. He knows what it’s like to have others question him and disregard him as a person because he didn’t fit into their mold. But you know what? He endured.

Jesus, for thirty-three years, lived, as you and I. However, daily, He woke with the knowing of how He would die, and when. Can you imagine what that information would do to a person mentally, emotionally? Perhaps, that is one merciful reason we do not know our futures.  However, Jesus saw the illuminated portrait of life after death, how He would give hope and renewing upon His resurrection, how He would become a tangible, relatable reason to live.

Jesus did not ask to suffer. He did not beg for torture, He did not cry out to be crucified – killed, murdered! He chose those things. When our father God turned His back on His one child, Jesus, Jesus only asked that if it be His father’s will, that these things not happen. Do you know what it’s like to have your dad, mom, caregiver, someone held in high regard, turn their back on you? Most of us do. Can you imagine the immense emptiness Jesus felt when Father God did just that? Yet, out of a depth of compassion unimaginable, incomprehensible to humans, out of pure love for you and me , Jesus accepted His Father’s will above his own, knowing full well what that meant; He committed to die.

He knew what his dad needed him to do – become a living, breathing human sacrifice. Did God want to send His son to endure this world and die? Did He want to watch? No. Did He long for His child to lie in death for three days? Would you? God the Father knew then, and still knows the frailty of humanity, our eternal security being the death and ultimate resurrection of His son, to offer peace when all else is chaos.

Jesus sincerely asked, after great tumult, that his dad not allow this, that He not endure atrocities, severe pain, mental abuse, death. Has your child asked for something that you desperately wanted to provide, yet couldn’t? How did that make you feel? Was the request made years ago, and you still remember the day you were forced to say no?

Was it easy for God the Father to not answer this one, eternity changing question with a yes? No, yet turned down His son. He knew with that revolutionary, encompassing “No,” His son would be sacrificed. He knew they would be separated for 3 days. Who wants to allow that? A heavenly father who desperately loves humanity, who could look past the worst 3 days of He and His son’s existence.

After Jesus’ crucifixion and during His death, I imagine the angels were sitting ready for day number 3, to escort Jesus home, amidst those darkest of days. Their prince, the prince of light, was dead and they could do nothing about it as they watched the events leading up to His dying. For three whole days I believe heaven wept, the place of joy unspeakable experienced grief unspeakable.

I wonder if God was inconsolable, despite knowing the eventual, life giving outcome?

My point is, we suffer, some more than others. I’ve heard others enduring storms, (myself included), state that they did not ask for their suffering. Neither did Jesus.

 

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