“When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he
set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51).
Knowing what had to happen, Jesus stayed the course. A serious reflection on his suffering must account for the fact that our Lord looked forward, never back.
We look back all the time, longing for comforts past, wondering what might have been. Even though we have taken up life with Jesus, seasons of suffering challenge our resolve and fix our attention to how things used to be. Our hunger for restoration and relief from burdens turns our heart to the past, but Jesus has only an eye for what is set before him.
The Isrealites experienced this in the forty years they spent wandering in the desert. They argued with Moses, idealizing their life in Egypt and questioning the goodness of the Lord. They complained about the Lord’s provision, not because he didn’t provide, but because they weren’t content with what he provided.
The paradox of suffering is that it is actually a gift – one we might like at times to give back – but a gift nonetheless.
God gives us suffering as a way of giving us himself,
for it is in our suffering that we become acutely aware of his presence and power.
Hardship empties us of our self-reliance so that we might soak in what it means that we are children of God, chosen by God and in covenant relationship with him—the very covenant purchased by Christ’s blood.
The Israelites in the wilderness and Christ on the cross both stand as a testament, old and new, that God does not forsake his people.
More than this, they remind us that suffering is a gift from God that very tangibly embeds his promises in our daily life.
Of course, we have to be looking to him to receive it as such.
Ultimately, suffering is about learning to receive whatever God has placed in our hands as his goodness for us today.
For Jesus, the journey to Jerusalem was a gift.
Gethsemane and Golgotha were gifts. They were not easy gifts to receive, which is why he had to say,
“Not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36).
And it is why he taught us to pray,
“Your kingdom come, your will be done” (Matthew 6:10), because if we are not looking for God’s kingdom come, we always be looking back for our kingdom gone.
Let’s pray this today and everyday!!
Fill me with Your Spirit that I may be occupied with Jesus presence. May his comforts cheer me in my sorrows, his strength sustain me in my trials, his blessings revive me in my weariness, his presence render me a fruitful tree of holiness, his might establish me in peace and joy, his incitements make me ceaseless in prayer, his animation kindle in me undying devotion. Send him as
the searcher of my heart, to show me more of my corruptions and helplessness that I may flee to You, cling to You, rest on You, as the beginning and end of my salvation.
From Day 22 – Journey to the Cross
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Let’s read this together!