Walking through Suffering Gives Hope and Life to Others

Though it may not always feel like it, the Lord is gracious to us in our suffering. On Sunday, our pastor noted how Jesus submitted Himself to the Father’s will, and endured incomprehensible anguish for us in order to bring the hope of salvation to the world.

One article I read this morning pointed out the suffering of many through the Bible. If all had been saved from their pain when they first cried out, we wouldn’t have significant generational-altering moments. For example:

If Joseph wasn’t brought to Egypt as a slave, and suffered all he had there, Jacob’s family might not have survived the famine, ending Abraham’s lineage and promises.

If Israel hadn’t waited in the wilderness for forty years, they wouldn’t have been prepared to rely on the Lord’s strength to take over the promised land, probably ending in their slaughter.

If David didn’t have years spent in the wilderness running from Saul, he might not have learned how to serve the nation under God’s authority, thus receiving the promise to always have a son of his on the throne, leading to Jesus.

If the prophets hadn’t endured the suffering of their own people, or that of other nations, they wouldn’t have made known Christ’s hope of His coming, and there’d be no prophecies to fulfill in order to help identify the Messiah and validate His sovereignty as God and Man.

If Christ didn’t endure the cross, despise the shame, and/or conquer death, we’d have no hope for salvation.

And so, though Jesus cried out to the Father, as written in Luke 22:42, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me – nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done,” God was gracious enough to allow His Son to suffer, so that the entire world might be saved through Him. And suffered He did greatly at our expense:

Upon His arrest: “So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him.” John 18:12 – They sent a whole mob to arrest Him.

At His first trial: “Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none.  For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree.  And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying,  “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’”  Yet even about this their testimony did not agree.” Mark 14:55-59

“Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him They also blindfolded him and kept asking him, “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?” And they said many other things against him, blaspheming him.” Luke 22:63-65

“And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate.” Mark 15:1

“And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, arraying him in splendid clothing (more mockery), he sent him back to Pilate.” Luke 23:11 (Brackets added

At Pilate’s trial: “And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” And Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

In Pilate’s palace: And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.” Mark 15:12-20

At the cross: “And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!”  The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”  There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” Luke 23:34-38

“And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” Mark 15:33-34 (Bold in all passages added)

Man and God all forsook Jesus for the price of sin, shame, and death hung on Him. God’s wrath and justice was fulfilled.

This is just a minute snapshot of what Jesus endured in His life and last moments before His terrifying death. It said in Isaiah that Jesus would be so badly beaten that He’d be unrecognizable. Needless to say, He understood suffering. He understands your suffering, and yet, endured it all so you could be eternally free.

Thankfully, Jesus was obedient to the Father’s will, until the very end. His suffering was a gift to the entire world. Who knows what impact your suffering will make to others?

 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Suffering is hard, but you can hold onto the guaranteed promise that you will receive Christ’s comfort alongside it all. Unlike Jesus, you are never alone in your affliction. Call out to Jesus and trust Him to walk with you through your pain, knowing that it will produce in you, and others, a far greater outcome than had He saved you from it in the first place. Your eternal life and reward are coming. Hold fast to Jesus as He holds onto you.

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