Shrinking from Suffering

As Jesus hangs almost lifeless on the cross he finds the strength to say “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” You see, no one likes suffering, including Jesus. It is part of our human nature to shrink away from suffering, but what we forget in the suffering is that we often experience God’s grace and love most when we have experienced such oppression.

Recently a family member of mine underwent what she thought was minor surgery, but what has followed has been more suffering than the symptoms the surgery was supposed to alleviate. Now, I am confident that after the suffering will come great healing, which will completely wipe away the past pain and discomfort, but in this time of pain and unrest it is hard to keep the focus on what is yet to come. There is no doubt in my mind that my family member is going through a rollercoaster of emotions and wondering if she should have bypassed the surgery for a less invasive solution, but there’s no denying that when she was trying to decide on whether to have it or not, God spoke to her in a very clear way.

When she found out the cost of the procedure she realized it would not be feasible, but it seemed as if it was necessary for quality of life so she did what any good Christian should do, and she asked God for His will be done. The next day she received a call from a client offering her a raise and more hours. All of a sudden, impossible seemed Himpossible. The decision was made just like that, but when we are in pain and suffering doubt often grows in our hearts and minds.

Here’s the difference between the thoughts of you and I and the thoughts of Jesus. Jesus said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Often we catch ourselves saying, “There is no god that would allow this pain.” Or, “God has forgotten about me.” Or lastly, “God doesn’t really know what is right for me.” These all point to our disowning God and our total independence. Jesus said, “My God.” “My” being possessive means that Jesus was still clinging to the fact that God was his for the taking, while we often consider him “chop liver” if things don’t go our way. Jesus asks God to reveal to him the reason for this forsaking, while we often say the only explanation is we are forgotten or god is non-existent.

Fortunately my family member has a close relationship with the Father, and she is now quickly recovering, on her way to renewal of faith and renewal of body. I pray that each of us can learn to embrace God and seek understanding in our suffering just as Jesus did. We don’t understand suffering and we feel forsaken, but God brings healing every step of the way whether we acknowledge it or not.

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