…he learned obedience through what he suffered…(Hebrews 5:8 ESV)
Suffering is a reminder that there is a lot wrong with this world. It magnifies pain and often depresses us because we yearn for relief and something much better. We don’t choose to suffer. It just comes with the territory of brokenness and evil. Storms, diseases, disorders, and violence all produce pain and suffering. No person in their right mind would ever want to live that way unless they were masochistic or fighting for something worthwhile.
Jesus pursued the latter because he saw what would be a glorious outcome, a gift of salvation and eternal life available to anyone who would take a step of faith and believe. He didn’t want to suffer and in fact, asked God to take that away from him. But if the Father didn’t, he resolved to stick with the plan to save all of humanity.
Like a soldier, he fought a spiritual war knowing that he would be physically hurt. With determination, he casted out demons, healed the sick, and forgave sins. He loved the unloveable, and touched the untouchables, offering them hope and true life if they demonstrated a mustard seed of faith in him.
Satan could not wait to get his hands on him. And when he did, he tortured him with lashes of whips to his back. The nails on his hands and feet were meant to bind him and keep him immobile. Jesus saw it coming and endured it anyway. He role modeled a state of complete surrender trusting God’s plan to redeem the world by crushing the enemy and defeating death.
The world today doesn’t make any sense. Everyone is confused because it is being filled with more lies and hatred. Sometimes I wonder if the chaos and confusion are meant to point everyone back to God. Maybe the suffering keeps worsening until we plea for God’s mercy?
God doesn’t torment anyone or coerce them into a relationship with him. But he administers discipline to wake us up and get our attention. He shakes things up and let’s us know there is something supremely better for us, a fuller and richer life with him. To get there, we must place our hope in Jesus.
“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:2-5).