WS Update: Suffering and Hope

February 5, 2024

Yesterday we looked at a text that promises “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). A promise only a few lines removed from an assertion that following Jesus means sharing in his suffering (Romans 8:17). Taken together it is obvious that suffering is part of God’s purpose for our lives. For some of you, this truth seems abstract and removed from your daily life. For others, it is far too real. For all of us, it is a reality that sooner or later will demand an answer. How do we understand suffering? How will we respond?  

The Christian answer is found in the suffering of Jesus. It isn’t an answer that satisfies the mystery of why God allows so much pain in the world, but it does give us a place to bring our tears and anger. I have been slowly working through the book A Quiet Mind to Suffer With: Mental Illness, Trauma and the Death of Christ. The author, who speaks from a place of his own deep suffering, reminds us of the pastoral and personal answer Jesus’ suffering gives:

“Christ’s promise is that we will not be most changed by the horrors in the Wilderness but by the Mercy we have waited on. When we know that Suffering cannot deprive us of Christ because all Suffering has been taken into His very body, a body He freely hands over to us as His Word, I believe something incredible can happen over time: Suffering will no longer be able to wield the power of shame, because we are not ashamed of it. Suffering will no longer be able to wield the power of fear, because we are not afraid of it. It will no longer be able to awaken the despair in our soul, because now that Christ has given Himself to us by Suffering, we can trust him with what Suffering has taken.”

To see Jesus take the scars of his suffering to the very throne room of heaven is to understand something of how our wounds are part of God’s redemptive plan for us and the world. That in the place that will one day be free of pain and death and tears, the presence of our own scars will remind us of the one whose wounds have already healed us.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:5

David’s Farewell Celebration

Join us at the 5th Floor Coffee Hour following the 11:30 am service to celebrate Pastor David’s last day preaching as our Senior Pastor.Help us celebrate Pastor David’s years in Redeemer!
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