Abuse, hardships, money worries, homeless, ill health, pain, suffering and so much more is part of everyday life for so many people. We hear it asked so often, that if there is a God, why do so many people have to suffer, why do bad things happen and where is He that He doesn’t prevent any of it?
God doesn’t ask any of us to suffer anything He wouldn’t be prepared to go through Himself. Think about it for a moment. God is three in one. He is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. That being the case think for a moment about Jesus.
What was His life like? He was born in a manger. Not a house with heating or air conditioning. Nor was his mother lying on a comfortable bed with everything to hand to make things easy, hygienic or life saving if required. Their life was a very basic life without luxuries, material goods or everything people of today’s world think of as necessary to make life bearable. But they were happy and content.
Then look at what happened when He left home to preach and teach people. His mother sat back and watched as He left home and went to places where he often slept in the open air rather than in hotels. He had no money and had to depend on others to feed Him and give Him shelter for the night.
At the end of His ministry, one of those who professed to love Him betrayed Him and sold Him for money. Another who professed to love Him denied knowing Him and being His friend three times. We then know He was tortured badly. He was ridiculed, jeered at and beaten.
His mother had to sit back and watch her Son suffer and was unable to do anything about it, as she knew it had to be – that it was God’s will. Not only was Jesus suffering, but His mother was too and so were those who loved Him. Even those who were so weak and had let Him down when He needed them most.
He then had a crown of thorns placed upon His head that was pushed down hard until those thorns pierced his skull and made it bleed. He had to carry a cross; a cross so heavy He struggled under its weight. His cross had to be carried not when fit and healthy, but when His mind and body was beaten down, frail and weak.
He was then laid upon that cross and nails were driven into his hands and feet. Then, they raised it and left Him there to hang until death would take Him. He was denied water and given only vinegar to drink, a sword was thrust into his side and all this He did and suffered for us.
His mother had to stand by and watch as her Son was tortured and murdered for doing nothing bad or wrong in His lifetime. All He’d ever done was goodness and taught others to love God and obey Him. Taught them right from wrong and how they would one day be rewarded or punished according to their deeds. For this He was murdered. He’d healed people and performed miracles, but all this was forgotten and ignored.
How then can any of you say your suffering is unfair, unjust and more than anyone should be asked to go through? How can you ask where God is and why He is letting it happen to you when His only Son was left alone and suffered such torment, pain and suffering Himself that was so unjust?
He knew it had to be done and suffered for what was to come and for how things were meant to be in order to save us. He knew our sins would be so great, yet He was prepared to take those sins and suffer as a result of them to save us; for us, us who are often so unworthy.
The night He spent in Gethsemane was torturous for Him. He felt pain that none of you will ever know or be able to understand. His pain cut deep inside in ways your pain cannot ever reach. He took on not just the pain of one person’s sins, but of the whole world. He did that for you.
How then can we deny Him the small amount of suffering by comparison that we have to go through in life? For some it is far more than just a bit that seems to be never-ending and to get worse as time goes on rather than less. Take it, accept it and thank God for it.
For by suffering, we have an opportunity to offer it up to God and to thank Him for what Jesus suffered for us. We can share in His pain by thinking about Gethsemane and how He must have felt. Put yourself in that garden; imagine what He was feeling and how His heart hurt. Sit with Him and share in that pain and offer it up to Him with thanks in return for what He offered up for you.
What a grace, what a blessing to be allowed to share suffering with His Son and know it has a greater purpose. We may not understand what that purpose is, but God never lets us suffer without He will reward us for it later on in some way – whether it be in this life or thereafter.
Next time you feel life is too hard and you have to suffer or watch those closest to you suffer, think of Jesus. Sit with Him in that olive grove and watch with Him. Feel His pain and place yours alongside what He went through. Think of what followed afterwards for him, the slow, torturous and very agonising death.
This Maundy Thursday, maybe then you can watch with Him for one hour as He asked of His apostles. Instead of letting Him down as they did, maybe as one of His disciples you can do as He asks and sit with Him.
It doesn’t have to be in a church and it doesn’t have to be on show or talked about. It can be in your own home – just you and Him. Sit and share in each others pain. Thank Him for what He suffered for us and offer up your pain in return for Him. Maybe sit and read your bible and read about Gethsemane.
Have faith and know it is all for a reason even if unclear to you right now. Trust in God that He knows best and that it all has a purpose. He doesn’t ever do anything for nothing. He sees the whole picture, we don’t. Most of all remember, God is not asking of you anything He did not suffer Himself and everything that happens does so because He loves you.
As Jesus was comforted in Gethsemane by an angel sent from God, so are you comforted by one in your life. He never leaves us alone and just as He appointed a guardian angel to be with us to guide us through life and protect us, so too does He send angels of comfort when we need them. All you have to do is believe it to be so and you will find your comfort in knowing you are never alone while you trust in God and keep faith.
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