Persevere through the pain
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27 v 46
What is your pain threshold like? Often our first response to pain is to run away from it, we go to great lengths in order not to feel it. Many authors and scientists have written about this very subject and some have argued that facing your pain leads to personal growth. What do you think, do you agree? Or do you think they are warped in their thinking?
I have been told that I have a “tough love” leadership style. I would agree to a certain extent, as I don’t believe in sticking on plasters when you haven’t first examined and cleaned out the wound. I also don’t believe in telling others what they want to hear in order to make them feel better in the moment or to win favour or friends. As a leader I will also not tell you that the Christian life is a walk in the park and free from sorrow as I would be lying and in my own experience it has been a combination of the good and the not so good. However as a Christian I can wholeheartedly testify to what Jesus taught when he said “blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”.
Pain is sadly part of the Christian life. There are times when God chooses to take it from us; however there are other times when we must endure it. Matthew chapter 27 records the execution of Jesus. Jesus had already suffered the pain of betrayal, physical beatings and verbal abuse and now he is about to be nailed to a cross. I don’t know about you but as I read this chapter my heart breaks for the pain my Lord suffered on my behalf. Yes my behalf. So often we blame “them” that put him there and yes they played their part but Jesus could have called at any time for an army of angels to take him down but he didn’t because he was fulfilling his role and purpose. He had to suffer so that we could be free.
Not only did he have to face the physical pain but he also experienced a deep emotional pain. In verse 46 we read that Jesus cried out, “Eli, Eli,clemasabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). Jesus appears to be quoting Psalm 22:1 which reads “My God why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning”. It was in that moment that Jesus felt not only horrendous physical pain but a deep pain in his heart. Why would a loving God allow his child to suffer such pain? A question we hear all the time. Of course God could have taken the pain away but if he had then there would have been a debt left to pay, our debt. Yes there was a break in the Trinity bond at that moment but it was for good reason. It was so that our sins may be forgiven, so our souls may be free.
Perhaps you’re reading this today and like Jesus you are in pain, deep anguish lives within your heart right now and every breath in your being is fighting it, wanting to run from the pain of it. Maybe you to have cried out God why have you left me? Why haven’t you taken this from me? Can I suggest that God has not left you. That he is right beside you and he hears your cry. That’s why he allowed Christ to suffer so that he could be with you always. He knows the pain you are experiencing right now.
The disciples Peter and James knew a thing or two about this also. Peter put it this way “the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” (1 Peter 5v9) and James said we are to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1 2-4)
He doesn’t want to just stick a plaster over the wound, he wants the wound to be completely healed. So that you may grow and be strong. Whatever you are going through right now, turn to Jesus as he suffered in every way so that you don’t have to suffer alone.
Until next time