John 11:35 Jesus wept
When Jesus finds his friends Mary and Martha grieving the death of their brother, Lazarus, Jesus weeps with them. This is after Jesus has told His disciples: “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it” (John 11:4). Jesus empathized with his friends’ grief, even knowing God eventually would raise Lazarus from death to life.
Jesus takes compassion on us when we cry. He weeps with us when we are worn by our circumstances. He is right next to us, experiencing our pain, even as He is working to transform our suffering, resurrect new life and restore joy in our hearts. We don’t see as He sees, but He sees how we see. He knows the depths of our longing. He cries with us, even as He brings beauty, hope and glory to full restoration.
Photo: Riverbend Church, Austin
1 Peter 5:9-10 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
God’s grace transforms our pain. He is in the midst of restoring our broken lives. Allow Him into the hurt. His strength enables us to endure suffering and establish faith in Him. His eternal salvation is the salve for our wounds. He is close to the broken-hearted; He rescues the crushed in spirit. His Spirit is mightily at work to redeem our sorrow, comfort our racing thoughts, resist temptation and evil, establish a firm foundation of faith, heal our broken places, and call us to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus.
Our ultimate hope, joy and comfort is in our redemption through Christ’s suffering. Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Photo: Umlauf sculpture garden, Austin, Texas
Romans 5:2 “And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
See how God’s peace goes before our suffering and His hope comes out of our suffering. Because we stand firm in His grace, our suffering doesn’t cause us to give up, but to persevere; suffering leads to perseverance in Christ! Ever-growing perseverance develops a strong character; Christ is laying the firm foundation for who we are. Strong identification with Christ brings eternal hope, sealed by God’s love.
1 Peter 4:13 “… be very glad–for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.”
Richard Rohr says that people “who are in union with both the pain of the world and the love of God, are prepared to read the Bible.” As our mind is changed by our sensitivity to suffering and our acceptance of God’s love for us, we are able to understand God’s Word, know Jesus internally and serve Him outwardly. Sometimes it feels 2 steps forward and 1 step back, as we often first blame God for our suffering, or don’t feel His love in the moment… but if we persevere and willingly take on the mind and character of Christ, He can use and transform our suffering by His great love to lend deeper understanding of His Word and Will, develop our character, and deliver hope.
Photo: Barcelona, Spain