Monthly Archives: October 2020
Psalm 94:12-15 (NRSV)
12 Happy are those whom you discipline, O Lord,
and whom you teach out of your law,
13 giving them respite from days of trouble,
until a pit is dug for the wicked.
14 For the Lord will not forsake his people;
he will not abandon his heritage;
15 for justice will return to the righteous,
and all the upright in heart will follow it.
Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him… Hebrews 5:8-9
Suffering. Who of us likes suffering? In my generation, we have done everything possible to alleviate our sufferings. If we feel the slightest “suffering” coming on, we reach as quickly as possible for the “little miracle” that will take that suffering away from us. We have pills, powders, lotions, and creams. You name it, we’ve got it – the fix all answers to our sufferings. I sometimes wonder what our ancestors would say if they heard our grumblings about “suffering”. Better still, I wonder what we would do if we had to endure the life that they had to endure.
I grew up in a small New England town, and that life was a life lived out on a farm. We raised our own vegetables, milked our own cows and processed our own meat. In the summer we would bathe in Cold River and trust me it got its name honestly. We heated our own home primarily with a wood burning stove, the wood we cut ourselves. Did we suffer? Nope. However, today, some may consider a life lived in this manner suffering.
But what about really suffering? What about the person with the terminal illness who is struggling just to take a breath in their body? What about the family who may be lucky to eat once a day and that is really if they are lucky? What about those times we face persecution, when it feels as if the whole world is collapsing down around us? True suffering (NOT the lack of creature comforts) really hurts. None of us like to feel the pain of rejection. However, if we are truly in Christ, we will hurt, make no bones about it, we will suffer for His sake. So how should we take suffering? What do we do?
For our example, we are given Hebrews 5:8-9. The verse tells us “…He learned obedience from what He suffered…” Though Jesus was despised, rejected and even suffered the agonizing death of the Cross, He maintained His focus on God the Father and His purposes of redemption. even though it would have been easy for Jesus to just quit, to give it all up and go into the self-preservation mode, He did not. Why? Because He understood that His life was not His own. Jesus understood that the One who called Him would also be faithful to Him, especially in His obedience. Philippians 1:6 says, “…being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Even in the midst of our sufferings, God is still faithful.
What made Jesus perfect, by His obedience in suffering. It could be very easy for us to just give up in the midst of suffering. If we did this, as Christians, we will miss the very lesson that God may be wanting to teach us in the midst of our suffering. What is the example we should learn when dealing with suffering? To do as Jesus did, to walk in obedience because at the end of the day we should know that we belong to Him. That in our weakness, during the time of suffering, He is strong. That if we remain obedient even in suffering, He will perfect us and give us strength to accomplish His work and learn what he wants us to. It isn’t always going to be easy, but the ultimate is…the battle belongs to the Lord and so do we.
Grace and Peace to all of you