Address: 19550 McKean Road, San Jose, CA 95120-3405
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If you had a choice, would you rather have a pain-free life or a life that includes suffering and hardship? It seems like a no-brainer. Obviously, anyone would choose a life without suffering. But think about Jesus. He had a choice. He could have stayed in heaven with the Father where he would never experience physical pain or human suffering. However, Jesus chose to leave a place of comfort to enter into a world where there is hatred, disappointment, betrayal, and death.
Why would Jesus choose a path that He knew would lead to pain? The simple answer is love. Because of His incredible, selfless love for you and me, He chose a life that He knew would include sorrow and pain. But I think that there is more to the answer. The way that God chose to show His love and rescue His people was not by immediately obliterating pain but by entering into that pain with us. In doing so, He validates the value of suffering. Suffering and pain were necessary for Christ to endure to conquer over sin and death and win our salvation. Jesus didn’t skip over the hard part. He didn’t fast forward through the difficult stuff. Jesus endured it. He recognized that even the pain served a purpose.
So if Christ didn’t skip over the suffering, why do we think that we should? Of course, I’m not saying that we seek out difficulty or that we enjoy suffering. But it is important for us to look to Jesus and look to the cross to realize that following Jesus includes pain and even suffering. Praise God that He can use even the suffering for our good! He can take even the painful situations and use them to grow us in our character and faith. We have the hope and knowledge that in the end, all things work out for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. We know that one day we will be in His presence where there will no longer be any suffering and pain. We only have to endure for this short time on earth, and we look forward to an eternity of peace with Him. That also means that this is the rare time in our eternal existence when we will be able to experience suffering that can grow us.