Everyone suffers. Unfortunately, suffering is a part of this world. If you are not suffering now, you have either suffered in the past or will suffer in the future. Suffering is an unpleasant but necessary part of life. When you suffer, where do you turn? Your perspective is everything!
Jesus was a man acquainted with suffering. Over and over in the New Testament the Greek word for suffering, πάσχω (paschō), is used in reference to Jesus. Here are a few examples of the many references to Jesus and suffering in the New Testament.
suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised – Matthew 16:21
So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands – Matthew 17:12
the Son of Man must suffer many things – Mark 8:31
how is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things -Mark 9:12
The Son of Man must suffer many things – Luke 9:22
But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation -Luke 17:25
These are just a few verses in reference to suffering and Jesus. It is important to understand that Jesus suffered. This enabled Jesus to be a sympathetic High Priest. He understands the difficulty of living in a fallen and sinful world firsthand. Jesus came to earth was despised, rejected, and suffered crucifixion on our behalf.
What should our response to suffering be? We should boldly draw near to Jesus. He is our High Priest, who is acquainted with our suffering in order that we may receive mercy and grace.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:15-16
When you suffer, you have a choice. You can choose to become bitter or angry or you can choose to cast your cast your cares on Jesus, and abide in His mercy, grace and unending love. Aren’t you glad to know that Jesus understands our suffering? He loves us, and cares for us. Will you trust him with your suffering today?
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I just returned from She Speaks 2016 Conference. All I can say is, “Wow!” What a special experience! The Proverbs 31 Ministry team did an incredible job of bringing together women of all ages, stages and seasons of life—women with different religious backgrounds, but a similar calling to make Jesus famous. Our worship time was amazing! This, to me, was a glimpse of what I imagine heaven will be like.
There were around 700 women in attendance, with about 500 of them were first-time attendees and another 100 or so in staff, presenters, and publishers. The really incredible thing is that there were over a 1,000 women on the waitlist that were not able to make it. Every woman in attendance was prayed for by name, and I knew the Lord had chosen me to be there. The prayer room there is a very special place, where a basket lay on a table with tiny scrolls of scripture printed for the attendees. I want to share with you the scripture that I chose:
“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25
I had several takeaways from the conference that I want to share with you. If you are in women’s ministry, writing, speaking or leading and you are interested in attending She Speaks, get on the waiting list for next year now. The conference fills up very quickly. It is completely worth the time and money to invest in your calling. She Speaks is a truly unique experience and you will be blessed. One of the best parts is the community—I met some of the sweetest Jesus girls, and I know we will be longtime friends!
The most significant thing for me was that God confirmed my calling to continue with my writing and blogging. I was given confidence in that calling and began to realize that my voice matters. I know I need to be strong and courageous in moving forward and continue to share Jesus in my sphere of influence. Writing, blogging, and especially speaking has really stretched me in my walk with Jesus. Another thing I learned was that God allows gaps in our calling on purpose so that we abide in Him. Not every part of this journey will be in my sweet spot. As I continue to step out in faith, obedience brings blessings. I look forward to what the Lord has planned for the future!