LENTEN CONNECTIONS 2017 Passion Week: Suffering

 

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised,
and we held him in low esteem.  [Isaiah 53:3, NIV]

I can’t begin to imagine the anguish Jesus felt on the night he was betrayed.  Knowing all that was awaiting him, choking out desperate prayers:  “My father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me . . . ”  Yet knowing that what was coming was the way it had to happen.

Have you been there?  Faced a situation that you thought would break you?
A situation that you didn’t know how you’d ever survive it.

Christ’s suffering continues as he is deserted by those closest to him in his time of greatest need.

Ever felt that kind of abandonment?  Ever been in a place where you felt unwanted, worthless, left out, invisible?

Then the physical torture; the interrogation, the humiliation and the beatings.  And as if that weren’t enough, they burden him with the weight of a mammoth cross and make him walk a hard road.

 Ever had to journey on a hard road?  Did it feel endless?  What was your load like?

It doesn’t end there.  We haven’t started on Christ being nailed to a cross for the sake of those who were pounding the spikes.  Guiltless, yet bolstering the weight of the sins of all humanity.

Ever felt like life was unfair?

Then the descent straight to the pit of hell.  I can’t even begin to know what to compare that to.

Our Jesus is one who knows and understands suffering.  He is able to relate to us in our moments of deepest grief, pain and suffering:  our sadness, our hurt, our heartaches and our heartbreaks.

He could have engineered a different plan for our redemption.  One that wouldn’t have cost him so dearly, but this is how much he loves us.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  [John 15:13, NIV]

In our darkest moments, when we face situations that cause us deep pain and suffering, when we feel abandoned and alone, when the journey feels endless and overwhelming and we long for a place to call home, we are invited by our God, who is well versed in suffering, to draw near and seek his comfort.  More than just an invitation, he longs for us to draw near to him.  He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.  [Psalm 91:4]  

Prayer:  Lord, you are our God of all compassion and comfort.  Thank you for your willingness to leave heaven and endure suffering for our sake.  Thank you for allowing us to find security and rest under the shelter of your gentle wings in our times of need.  Amen.

At the Cross by Selah – Click Here 

Submitted by Carla Ewing

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