Dear Loved One, (how Jesus endured his pain)
Dear Loved One,
It breaks my heart to see you suffering. I want to offer you comfort and I feel helpless. I’ve tried to make you happy. I can tell you that I love you and offer you kind words. I can buy you flowers and trinkets. I can send you funny pictures that I think will make you laugh. I can take you out for a cup of coffee and listen if you want to talk. These are all good things, and I’m happy to do them. I won’t stop. But I’m learning something. I might be able to bring a smile to your day and offer you a momentary amount of happiness, but I can’t take away your pain.
It was wrong for me to think otherwise. I hope my love for you does bring you comfort, but please understand- my love will never be enough, and I will let you down. You might not want to hear it, you might not even believe me or understand, but the most loving thing for me to do is to point you to Jesus.
Jesus knows your pain. He really does. I pray that this truth will make its way into your heart, through the grace of the Holy Spirit. Jesus left his place in heaven and experienced full humanity, suffering not only death on the cross, but also momentary separation from God, so that upon his resurrection, we might not be forever separated from God.
As Good Friday approaches, I reflect on how Jesus endured his pain. How did he do it? The bible mentions both prayer and meditation of scripture. We know that he prayed in the garden before his arrest and crucifixion, to the point of sweating blood. And many scholars believe that Jesus was meditating on Psalm 22 during the crucifixion. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” is a quote from David’s prayer in Psalm 22:1. Jesus’s final words are from the final verse of Psalm 22: 31. The original Hebrew, “He has performed it” can be translated, “It is finished”. See here.
Jesus also knew that his suffering served a greater purpose. Hebrews 12:2 states that he endured the cross because of the “joy set before Him.” Through his suffering came redemption.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
So, dear loved one, please know that though it hurts me to see you suffering, I realize that it’s not my place to try and take away your pain. And though it hurts Jesus to see you suffering, in his infinite wisdom, he can use that pain and redeem it for something good. In his perfect love, he offers you comfort in the midst of your pain. And in his sovereign grace, he will bring you healing.
I will continue to love you and do what I can to offer you comfort, asking our Heavenly Father to use me as his hands and feet for this purpose. Ultimately, it's not my love, but Jesus in me. He is the author and perfecter of my faith, and the source of any good that you may find in me. Place your trust in Jesus. He will never let you down.