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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*** UPDATE 2017 ***
I posted this last year on Labor Day weekend. What a difference a year makes! In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, life, as we know it on the Texas Gulf Coast, is far from normal. Yet this post still resonates with me on this Labor Day Weekend, but for different reasons. I still need to show myself some grace, because as much as I would like for things to get back to normal, things are still a little topsy turvy right now, and I need more grace than ever.
I am my own worst critic and tend to be very hard on myself! What about you?
My type-A personality drives me to accomplish much, and I have a difficult time relaxing. I set up very high expectations for myself and then feel defeated if I don’t live up to my self-imposed “righteous” standards. I put unrealistic expectations on myself and my family. I think my house should always be spotless, and that my kids should always behave and do what I think they should do. I drive myself to perfection, especially when I undertake any outside projects or events. I work myself up into a frenzy and push myself to exhaustion.
I believe it is a biblical concept to strive for excellence in all we do, and I get this from 1 Corinthians 10:31:
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
[ctt template=”2″ link=”4cYBr” via=”yes” ]It is a good thing to want to do everything to the glory of God and to strive for excellence.[/ctt]
However, if I am so hard on myself that I feel guilt or shame because I haven’t lived up to my own expectations, then I am only hurting myself.
This week in Bible Study, we discussed our battle with sin and the power that we have as Christians to live a life pleasing to God based on Romans 8. The first thing we read is Romans 8:1.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
I don’t know why I expect perfection from myself—the only perfect person to ever walk this earth was Jesus. Not only that, but He came here to save me. He came to set me free from the bondage of sin and death, and He doesn’t want me to feel condemnation.
[ctt template=”2″ link=”p5WKw” via=”yes” ]I am beginning to learn to have grace with myself when things don’t go as I have planned.[/ctt] I am human, and I am going to make mistakes.
Romans 3:23, says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Most likely, I will continue to disappoint myself and others along the way, but I don’t have to feel condemned. I must choose to believe that I am flawed, but forgiven.
[ctt template=”2″ link=”GSNW_” via=”yes” ]Does anyone else struggle to show themselves grace or am I alone in this battle? [/ctt]
Today, I choose to show myself grace. Instead of driving myself to perfection, I elected to enjoy this Labor Day weekend with my family, and try to catch up on some much-needed rest.
I hope you enjoy a wonderful Labor Day weekend and find rest in God this week!