No one likes to suffer. There is most often something that rises up within ourselves when we are faced with pain that causes us to dig in our heels and resist. We resist because we do not like change – we do not understand it, and we have no desire to do so. Unfortunately, resisting change is often what brings us pain. Even Christ, knowing what he would soon endure on the cross, prayed to his Father, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me…” (Matthew 26:39). But the words that he prayed next are what we should truly dwell on and follow as an example in our own lives: “…nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”
Christ’s will in our lives is more important than our own.
In our own strength, we cannot turn something painful into something beautiful. Only God can do that for us. The same way that he was able to create something wonderful out of all the pain he suffered on the cross, he is able to take all our brokenness and turn it into something great. He can make it something that will speak to people other than ourselves.
Suffering can make us stronger.
I recently heard a quote by philosopher James Olthius, author of The Beautiful Risk: “It is in and through the travail of the pains of suffering that God creates something new.” But if we expect God to use our suffering for something great, it is important that we remember that we are not the only ones who feel pain and suffering. So many people around us may be going through difficult things without us knowing. If we spend our time trying to help other people through their pain – just as Christ did – we are able to bear so much more. Even in his dying words, he was thinking of others and praying for their forgiveness. As illustrated by Richard Burchard’s The Seven Last Words of Christ, Christ prayed to the Father, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)Set to stirring, beautiful music, The Seven Last Words of Christ serves not only as a reminder of the suffering that Christ experienced on the cross, but it also reminds us that with his help, we are able to get through any trials that life may push our way. We can bear earthly pain because God sent us a heavenly remedy.