I’ve had a rough couple of weeks. I’ve been struggling off and on with terrible headaches and bad sleep again. Not cool. That’s why I haven’t written in awhile, sorry!
Sickness is my emotional achilles heal. It always makes me discouraged and upset. My family doesn’t have a good track record of health. My father struggled for many years with chronic sickness and I guess there is a part of me that always fears I’ll end up that way. It’s a battle to fight back my circumstances with spiritual perspective.
Sickness wears down my optimism – but Jesus always helps me regain hope.
Jesus came to this earth to bring hope and life to all mankind. He lived perfectly, loved extravagantly, and gave of Himself generously. And despite all that, people wanted to kill Him. Finally one night a mob, led by His former disciple, tracked Him down to arrest Him. Peter and the other disciples drew their swords and asked Jesus if they should fight off the mob. Jesus knew where this mob would lead. He knew that after a few trials the public would turn on Him and demand His execution. He knew that only death awaited Him and yet His reply to the disciples astounds me, “Permit even this.” (Luke 22:52 NKJV)
How could Jesus say to His disciples, “Permit even this.” in such a dark moment? How can God say the same to your suffering? Why does God say, “Permit even this” to my sickness, your cancer, or starving children? Am I okay with God saying, “Permit even this” to my pain? Do I trust Him? Do you trust Him?
I might not be able to satisfy all the tension surrounding these difficult questions but I can offer up this perspective: suffering has a purpose. I know those words are difficult to swallow. We need to go back to the circumstances surrounding Jesus on that night He was arrested. There was an exchange between Jesus and God a few hours before His arrest where Jesus asked for an alternative route to redemption. Theologians have debated this question for centuries, “Did Jesus have to die to accomplish salvation for all people?” The short answer is YES. Jesus knew that His death would be a perfect payment for our sins and the sacrifice to satisfy the justice of God on our behalf. He knew it would be excruciating to take on our sin on the cross and be separated from perfect fellowship with His Father and yet He submitted his circumstances to God by saying, “Not my will, but your will be done.” (Luke 22:42) Jesus trusted that there was a purpose for His suffering.
If Jesus trusted God even in the darkest of times that the end was good, can’t I? You see, Jesus knew that the suffering was only temporary and that God was going to accomplish something magnificent through it. I don’t know why God allows my suffering right now, and I can’t tell you why He’s allowed yours, but I want to trust that it’s just a means to His good and perfect will. I want to trust that He can make something magnificent out of my mess. I want to trust that there’s a purpose in all of it.
The experience of Jesus isn’t just an example of how God works good out of bad it’s also the solution to our suffering. Jesus died so that you and I could be free from all suffering one day. He died so that we could have eternal life and the confidence of hope. This world is painful and these bodies are weak but one day everything will change. We might not know the purpose of our suffering but we can have confidence in the perfection of God’s solution. You may not be physically healed in this life or free from your distress but a glorious inheritance awaits you in the next. Jesus is your promise of new life. He is the guarantee that it only gets better.
If you haven’t trusted that God is good and that Jesus can give you eternal life and hope I’m not sure why you’ll get up tomorrow. Without God there is no hope. Without Jesus I’m lost for answers and overwhelmed by my suffering. I may not know why God allows suffering but I do know that He makes all things right. It might not be today, next year, or before I die. But I know that Jesus will make all things new someday and I’ll get to experience that. No more tears, no more pain, no more sorrow, no more questions. (Rev. 21:4)
Until then, I’ll keep getting out of bed and doing the best I can. Maybe tomorrow I’ll feel better.