Looking at her lifeless body, I was unprepared for the affliction that had come upon me. Like many others, I falsely believed that being a Christian would protect me from this type of pain and suffering. My grasp of God’s goodness was shallow and skewed to fit within my finite capacity for understanding. I failed to realize how intricately woven suffering is into the fabric of life.
I had completely disregarded the fact that suffering is common to man and that we are not the only ones who suffer. Christ also suffered! Imagine the ridicule he must have faced. The illegitimate son of a teenage girl, shunned by His brothers, rejected by His own people, the Jews, and in the end even those closest to him deserted him. He died a criminals death, crucified on a Roman cross, and buried in a borrowed tomb. Jesus knows what it’s like to suffer.
Because He is no stranger to suffering, Jesus is an example to believers who also suffer. Sometimes it can be a difficult pill to swallow, but God often uses suffering to bring about goodness. In fact, Jesus himself suffered inorder that we might have eternal life. Hebrews tells us that for our benefit, Jesus joyously endured the cross. (Hebrews 12:2)
BibleGateway is an excellent resource of scripture references on the sufferings of Christ. It states, “Jesus Christ’s life was characterised by suffering, though the worst experiences were reserved for his final days. His sufferings are both redemptive and an example to believers.”
As believers, the Bible tells us that we should expect suffering. “Do not be surprised when you face trials of various kinds.” (1 Peter 4:3) And Paul said, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”(2 Timothy 3:12) In fact, the Bible is full of scripture encouraging us to “share in the sufferings of Christ”. (2 Corinthians 2:5)
Christ suffered! Looking to Him as our example, we must not think that Christians are immune to suffering. Instead we should be prepared for the fiery trials that come our way, Looking to Jesus as we endure and count it all joy. (James 1:2-4)