Christians wrongfully believe that if their faith is strong enough, they will
never suffer. But that idea distorts the gospel. Jesus did not promise to
airlift us out of life’s troubles. Jesus promised that when we suffer, we could
experience God’s gift of peace. Even when we feel alone, God is right there
with us. There’s no situation beyond his reach. This assurance allows us to
have a peace that passes all understanding.
One of the
ways God gives us this peace is by reassuring us that he understands exactly
what we’re going through. During the incarnation, Jesus experienced fear, pain,
suffering and death. Knowing that he was about to be tortured and then
crucified, Jesus prayed with great emotion. And on the next day, hanging from
the cross, in one of his final tortured breaths, Jesus shared in our despair
when he cried out: “My God, my God, why
have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).
anguished cry from the cross tells us that Jesus fully enters in to our pain,
our suffering and death. Jesus is right by our side throughout all our
trials. His assurance isn’t just a “get well soon” tweet from the comfort and
safety of heaven. He is personally and actively at work here and now – suffering
along with us through each heartache.
And he not
only meets us in our sufferings but also promises to raise us up with him on
the other side. He guarantees that all our sufferings will be made redemptive
like Christ’s. God has not allowed anything to happen, including the crucifixion
of the Son of God, which he will not redeem.
presence, though invisible, is real. He cries with us; he aches with us.
He is so close to us, that Paul could say that our suffering somehow is a sharing
in Jesus’ own suffering. Paul declares
that because he shares in our sufferings we will share in his redemption and
that we will see that it was worth it all. Paul proclaims: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with
the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8:18).
We can take
great comfort in knowing that Jesus is willing and fully able to
“empathize with our weaknesses and share with us his hope in God’s redemptive
purposes and that’s a truth that gives us true peace.
I’m Joseph Tkach, speaking of LIFE.