Suffering For An Eternal Purpose
"He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds, you have been healed. For you had gone astray like sheep, but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls." — 1 Peter 2:24-25
As Christians, we don’t serve a distant God that takes pleasure in our suffering. Rather, we serve a God who was willing to enter into our suffering knowing that physically it would break His body and morally it would break His heart. We serve a God that understands what it means to feel rejected, betrayed and alone. We serve a God that allowed what destroys us to destroy Him, what conquers us to conquer Him and what kills us to kill Him. We serve a God whose heart yearned for intimacy with His Creation, that He was willing to sacrifice Himself to pay the price for our sin.
Every step Jesus took during His Passion had an individual's name assigned to it, so that now when the Father looks at us, He no longer sees the sin which once covered us, but instead He sees the righteousness of His Son. At that moment, He endured separation from God, so that in eternity we would never have to.
Jesus came to undo what had been undone in our broken world. He did not come to take away suffering, He came to transform it. He didn’t come to remove suffering, He came to redeem it. For suffering does not destroy faith, it refines faith.
"Since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ, we are heirs of God's glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering." — Romans 8:17
In every aspect, Jesus suffered for an eternal purpose, in the same way, that we would also suffer with purpose. Yet, when we waste our suffering and we don't offer it up to the Father, we miss an opportunity to be broken before the Father in order to be transformed by Father.
“Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” — Luke 23:34
Your suffering, no matter how small, matters to God. Nothing ever given to God is ever wasted. When you feel hurt, rejected or betrayed offer your pain to the Lord. Pour out your sorrows to a God who understands and restores.
“And about three o'clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" — Matthew 27:46
Maybe you feel abandoned or defeated. Maybe you're struggling with immense grief or regret. Maybe, you know you've done something in the past that you cannot undo. Maybe the emotional scars of guilt and shame keep coming back to haunt you. Maybe you feel unworthy to offer up your sufferings to the Father because you feel like you deserve it. In that moment offer up your brokenness and allow God's mercy to heal you from within.
As believers, we're called to be like Jesus, which means embracing suffering for the sake of others. To be compassionate towards someone is to share in their sufferings, bear their burdens and help them carry their Cross. For when we endure with them in their trials it builds up our character so that we become more like Jesus.
“Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.” — Luke 23:46
Every last breath He took was for you, so that He could look to the Father, knowing that His work on Earth was accomplished. When we die, we should have the humility to be able to look to the Father knowing that into His hands we committed our lives and the souls of others we’ve helped to save along the way.
The mission of Jesus Christ was to love us and save us through His suffering. For when you love others, in a way that reflects God, and share in the sufferings of others, you fulfil purpose and you accomplish the calling on your life. Imagine how many souls you could help save by sharing the Gospel of God’s love for humanity.
“My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.” — James 5:19-20
When we become numb to the effects of sin, we become indifferent to the pains Jesus underwent for us. Every time Jesus was tortured and scourged, it was for the sins of impurity. Every time whipped with leather cords embedded with sharp bones that ripped out chunks of His flesh, it was for the sins of the flesh. Every time the crown of thorns jabbed at His head, it was for the sins of our mind.
Every time He endured the weight of the Cross, it was for the sins of the world. Every time those nails were forced deeper through His metatarsals, He bled love for you. Every last breath He took, by mustering up what little strength He had left to push Himself against the nails in His wrists was for you.
Everything He suffered was for you so that you would never have to pay the eternal punishment for sin. Instead, He made a way for you to come back to the Father in the same way that as believers, we need to direct others who are lost back to the love of their Heavenly Father.
Please keep praying for everyone suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic that the Lord will grant them the grace to endure their trials.
During this Easter season, ask God to give you an eternal perspective, to know that He is working all things out for our good and that one day, we have the hope of spending eternity in the presence of God, full of joy and completely free from sickness, death, pain, and suffering...