What’s the best thing a person can hear when going through a hard time in life?
This isn’t because “misery loves company” or we because like others to suffer too. It’s because we like to know that we are not alone in our suffering or crazy or weird for whatever we are dealing with. As a mom, this is especially helpful when dealing with particular kid-related issues. While I hate for other moms to have a hard time like me, it also helps, in a strange way, to know that others have the same problems. It makes me feel that I and my children are not so strange after all (for the most part) and that I am not alone.
The truth is, we all are suffering in some way. Life is hard; full of aches and pains, both physical and emotional.
Suffering, struggles, hardships, and obstacles — it’s essential to any great story and a basic part of life. Overcoming them is only the climax, what we do afterwards maps out how the story ends.
God did not make it this way in the beginning. He doesn’t allow us to suffer to entertain Himself from a throne while he basks in eternal euphoria in some faraway paradise. God’s Will — what He wants for each of us — is Heaven: paradise, eternal bliss, joy, never-ending peace and tranquility. He does not want us to suffer. Suffering came about because of a great gift He gave us—Free Will.
We make our own choices…create our own ‘destiny’ so to say. God also made us humans – not gods. So, we’re not perfect, we can’t always see what effect our choices will make in our lives and those of others. In other words, we make mistakes. And, sadly, mistakes cause pain and can make hearts turn cold and hard. Most of the suffering in this world comes from these mistakes and untreated pain. Sometimes, however, it has nothing to do with anything we’ve done or haven’t done. This world is beautiful and wonderful, but again…not perfect. We are not immune or immortal, and no amount of drugs or vaccines or vitamins or ‘healthy’ food will ever change this. You can do everything ‘right’ but sickness still happens. Bones break, ligaments stretch, accidents happen; death happens. It’s part of the natural world we live in.
God saw our suffering, he tried to reach out but He felt too faraway and obtuse. So He sent His Son to repair the bridge, to become one of us. He did this not only to be understood, but to understand. He didn’t want to just ‘watch us suffer’, He wanted to be there WITH us. He didn’t come to cheer us on from the sidelines–he came to join in the race and run along right by our sides. He is fully Divine yet also fully human, like us in every way but sin. This doesn’t mean he didn’t suffer. He did. Very much.
He felt hunger. He felt pain. He felt sad, mad, happy, joyful. He knew what it was like to be a baby, to feel frustration when learning to crawl and walk. He knew what it was like to work hard with his family even when he’d rather play or sleep. He knew what it was like to have to listen and obey his parents, even if he thought he knew better (which He probably did but that’s beside the point). He knew what it was like to be tempted, to choose good even when it was so, so hard.
He knew what it was like to have friends…and enemies. He felt love…and betrayal. He saw joy…and sorrow. He saw life…and death. He laughed…He wept.
He was an innocent man; filled with only love for us all. Yet, He was hated, persecuted, treated like a filthy, good-for-nothing, criminal.
They threw heavy rocks at Him, hit Him, beat Him, scourged Him, mocked Him. They stripped His dignity and flaunted it in front of everyone to rip and shred apart. That wasn’t enough.
They forced Him to carry a heavy wooden beam — too heavy for one man to carry on His own, let alone one that was half-dead already. They pushed Him, tripped Him, yelled at Him, spat at Him, showed Him no mercy; kindness was foreign to them.
Then, they took His body, already drenched in sweat and blood, and nailed Him to the cross, raised Him up for all to see, then watched and waited for Him to die. Finally, after all that, He suffered the last and greatest of all human suffering – DEATH.
He could have stopped it, could have climbed off that cross and said, “Forget this, I’m too good for this.”
But He didn’t. He stayed in the game—for YOU.
He joined in our suffering, so that we would not be ALONE. He is here with us still, as we each carry our own crosses, even if they seem light and small compared to His or others–they are OUR crosses. And He is here, to help us along the way.
But, the story doesn’t end there…