Is it possible to think that Jesus suffered easily? By that I mean, because Jesus was fully God and Man, was it somehow easier for Him to suffer? Our eyes are upon Christ, the Cross and His suffering this week. We can forget or quickly gloss over His conflict to submit to the Father’s will. He knew what was waiting for Him. He requested that if there were any other way, could it be so? Yet the Father did not remove the cup of suffering from Jesus. Luke 22:42 tells us that Jesus not only requested another way but submitted to the Father’s will regarding His suffering. “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Turmoil existed but so did submission and obedience.
Christ’s example of suffering leaves us many examples to follow. 1 Peter 4:1-2 says, “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.” Because Christ suffered, He instructs us to first think of suffering as He did. How we think about suffering is key. Do you feel punished? Do you think it is unfair that you suffer? When we can put aside our feelings and understand that suffering affects everyone in different ways and at different times, we can begin to think of suffering as a tool. We are taught, strengthened, comforted and grounded in our faith in ways that would not have happened if we did not suffer. We learn to submit, obey, and die to ourselves in ways we would never have if not for suffering. We can draw near to the Cross knowing that our Savior has suffered, sympathizes with our own suffering and is working in us His perfect will. As you and I face suffering and trials of many kinds, we can leave behind our answers to the problems we face and seek and trust the perfect will of our heavenly Father.
If we could only see how it all would work out, we would do better in our suffering. What we see will not lead us to greater faith or a deeper understanding of Jesus Christ. It is only in becoming like Christ that you and I will be able to face our suffering with grace and truth.
Kathy Withers is on staff at America’s Keswick and serves as Director of Partner Care. Kathy has been married to her husband Dave for 30 years. They have two adult children. Kathy is active in her local Church and teaches a Bible Study for women. Her passion is to encourage women to deepen their walk with Jesus Christ by finding and living out the truths of God’s Word.