What is it in my life that seems unfair or is hard, or that I don’t understand, or that I don’t want to do because it hurts? Why do I often find myself face-to-face with the confusion of pain and sorrow? If God is the God of the impossible, then why doesn’t he take this away from me? Why doesn’t he put me where I want to be, or do what makes me happy, or remove whatever is causing my pain? Doesn’t he care about me?
I don’t claim to know the answers to these tough life questions, but when I am struggling, somehow my thoughts get directed to additional questions: Does God care about Jesus? Couldn’t he have found another way for his plan to be accomplished without the pain that Jesus was forced to suffer?
I imagine that Jesus was completely happy in Heaven. He was one with his Father, he had community with beings who adored and praised him. But there came a time when the Father knew he must make the difficult choice of asking his Son to sacrifice all that he was and all that he knew for the sake of beings who were unworthy of that very sacrifice. The beings the Father had created on earth to love and adore him would be lost to him for all time unless the Son was willing to make this sacrifice. God did what he did because it served his plan to reconcile humanity to him.
Because the Father and Son are one, the love of the Father was also in the Son, and of course, that love compelled the Son to be the sacrifice that would repair the bridge between God and man—the bridge that man had broken in the very infancy of his existence. But it was not just love for people that compelled the Son to descend from his rightful place beside the Father. It was also obedience. His faith, love, and worship of his Father was manifested in obedience.
I choose to assume that just as God acted in the life of Jesus according to his plan, surely he must also act in my life because it serves his plan. He sometimes allows me to suffer and he sometimes gives me victory. It shouldn’t matter what comes my way if I truly trust him. I know he loves me. I know that whatever path I find myself traveling, whether I chose that path willingly or find it thrust upon me, I am there because God has allowed it. If God has allowed it, he has a reason for it. In his time that reason will be revealed to me. Until then I am compelled to walk in faith and believe he will give me the same victory that he gave to Jesus. Until then I must find a way to love even those who would do evil to me. I must see the world and the people in the world through his eyes and recognize that even in their imperfection, they are reflections of the same God that is reflected through me, despite my own imperfection.
The Bible compels me to strive for a life of love, faith, and worship that is manifested in obedience, just as Jesus modeled for me. A life that is sometimes filled with pain and confusion and a lack of understanding. A life that believes the promises of his Word: that God is, was, and always will be in control. He will use all things for my good, and he was willing to let his Son suffer to prove it to me. So, when there are times I must walk through where I am to get to where he wants me to be, then so be it. I know a victory awaits at the other end.
“Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. . . . He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion” (Philippians 2:5, 8, The Message).
“While he lived on earth, anticipating death, Jesus cried out in pain and wept in sorrow as he offered up priestly prayers to God. Because he honored God, God answered him. Though he was God’s Son, he learned trusting-obedience by what he suffered, just as we do.”
Sue Wilson is a writer who blogs at suespaperthoughts.blogspot.com.