March 13, 2023
No one likes to suffer. Our culture is rife with substances, activities, and philosophies to keep us from suffering. Nor do people like to see others suffer. But as we begin this journey through Holy Week, we will once again have a front row seat to the suffering of Jesus Christ. What makes His suffering so efficacious is the redemptive nature of His emotional, physical, and spiritual suffering. He walked the road of a suffering servant so He has a unique insight into any suffering we might endure. His death and resurrection provided redemption for our souls, strength to endure, atonement for our salvation, and He brought us into God’s presence. That is redemptive suffering!
While we don’t choose suffering, we must admit that it is at our weakest, most hopeless moments, that we experience the power of God’s grace most acutely. When our suffering brings us to the end of our resources and strength, we can more fully grasp that God’s resources and strength are not just enough, they are more than we can ask or imagine. In our suffering we can find unknown strength to persevere on a path filled with pain and uncertainty. As we walk with Christ, we learn more about His character: His faithfulness, love, mercy, righteousness, and power! We can also experience Him helping to build those characteristics in us…if we let Him. And as we grow more like Christ, our hearts begin to be filled with the power and hope of the Holy Spirit. That is redemptive suffering!
Enduring suffering can open opportunities to be a purveyor of hope for others. We can share with them the hope of God’s presence, understanding, love, power, grace, strength, sufficiency. God is able to redeem our struggles and turn them into acts of mercy and love. That is redemptive suffering!
Prayer: Thank you, God, for the redeeming sacrifice of Christ. Redeem our suffering by making us more like Christ and then use us to help others. Amen
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