Although Jesus cried out to God, asking to be delivered, He was prepared to suffer humiliation, separation from His Father, and death in order to do God’s will. At times we too will undergo trials, not because we want to suffer, but because we want to obey God. Let Jesus’ obedience sustain and encourage you in times of trial. You will be able to face anything if you know that Jesus Christ is with you. I thumbed through my bible to Hebrews and I stumbled upon theses verses below in chapter 5. I sat there reading the lines over and over…amazed. I know Jesus suffered. I know He asked God to take the cup. But for some reason, perhaps it hit me in the most beautiful way…Jesus did cry out to God. He asked God to remove the cup he would soon drink from (Matthew 26:38-42; Mark 14:36). Jesus was troubled and hurt, knowing what was coming (John 12:27-28). Yet, He continued to move forward into even greater suffering (the tangible experience on the cross). He continued to move forward as God led Him. Hebrews goes on to tell us that though He was a son, He learned obedience through that suffering. The outcome was eternal salvation being made available to the world.
“While Jesus was here on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with a loud cry and tears to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him.” Hebrews 5:7-9
I don’t think we get it…and we don’t really want to accept the reality of it, but I will. Suffering is inevitable, no matter how trivial or serious it may be. The crazy thing is that even through Christ’s example we can see that while our tears and prayers are heard by God, He doesn’t always take the suffering away. Maybe He does, BUT maybe we cry out and pray and cry out and we are lead into greater depths of suffering, it can happen…it happened to Christ. The part that we don’t always see (especially when our focus in these moments is almost always on ourselves and the greatness of our hurt/suffering) is that there is purpose in that suffering. Again we don’t get it, but often times we can’t see the reason for anything until time has passed (hindsight is 20/20) and we are able to look back on a bigger picture of our lives.
Sometimes we just don’t understand it. But I know that regardless of what I or you or anyone around us is going through…God is a few words away…Sometimes He’s even closer than that (Romans 8:26). We will all walk through life experiencing a suffering of some kind. The question to ask is not when or why, but rather ask yourself how will you respond? Hopefully we will all continue to move forward, knowing and trusting that God is with us, no matter how hard it gets. Hopefully our response is not anger and bitterness because of what we face. Rather that our response would be to look upon the example of Christ, continuing to move obediently and prayerfully through the hard times…praising God the day/moment/year we realize just how incredible and purposeful He was in allowing us to hurt and suffer in the way we are today.
Maybe one thing to remember is trusting that God is who He says He is and that while it may hurt…God will only work to bring us closer to Him and closer to being the people He created us to be…a people bearing and reflecting His image.