Hope In Suffering

It is Holy Week. I know I’m stating the obvious, but I need to keep reminding myself. I still haven’t found a church community in my new hometown, so I haven’t been involved in things that would normally remind me to stop and meditate on what this week means. I’ve had to force myself to be intentional to worship, to study, to pray…to do all of these things on my own. Imagine that, being responsible for my own spiritual growth and well-being.

So I’ve been thinking a lot this week about suffering. We all, generally speaking, tend to do whatever it takes to avoid suffering in life. We avoid people who might hurt us, we seek good health and financial stability, and we try to do what makes us happy. The Christian life, being one in which a believer is asked to join in the sufferings of Christ, is completely counter-intuitive. Lay down your life. Die to self. Endure trials. Turn the other cheek. Bear your cross. Who would willingly sign up for this gig? One would have to be foolish.

But that is the foolishness of the Gospel. To those who don’t believe, it seems absurd. To those who believe, it is salvation. The truth is, suffering is unavoidable in this life. Each of us will experience great loss and pain in varying degrees, and the weight of it all will feel unbearable at times. But what Christ accomplished on the cross introduces hope in our suffering. We suffer here, in our Good Friday, but there will come a day when He restores all that has been broken, in our Resurrection Sunday.

We got one (hopefully) last big snow here at the beginning of the week, and it has been cold and gray. It doesn’t feel like Spring at all, but I think that’s fitting. In the days leading up to Christ’s death, I don’t think it felt much like Spring for Him either. I think it was a dark night of the soul. I think He knew what He was doing, and He went to the cross willingly, but that did not ease His suffering. It did, however, give me a good reason to endure my own.

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