Monday, March 28, 2011

More Easter thoughts- His suffering Brings Hope in Mine

“Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”

This time of reflection and looking at Jesus in His holiness and beauty taking on my sin of ugliness and hate to make me righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21) has been flooring me. The more I look at myself and hurt and cry and feel even shame, the more my heart is opening to how amazing His love is. He died my death! He endured beating, mocking, rejection, hatred, and He took it all with deep love for those very people. For me. WOW!

It’s also making this Hebrews 12 passage come alive to me. Consider Him who endured the hostility so that I won’t grow weary. Knowing how He suffered and was rejected for me is such a reminder that I’ll really never suffer like that ever. I’ll never fully know it. But yet He will allow me to suffer here and see glimpses of His great suffering.

“When tribulation and sickness assail you, think how slight these are compared to the thorns and the nails of Christ. If you are thwarted, remember how he was bound and dragged. If pride besets you, see how the Lord was mocked and with robbers despised. If unchastity incites your flesh, recall how his flesh was scourged, pierced, and smitten. If hate, envy, and vengeance tempt you, think how Christ for you and all his enemies interceded with tears, though he might rather have avenged himself. If you are afflicted and cannot have your way, take heart and say, "Why should I not suffer when my Lord sweat blood for very anguish?"- Martin Luther

I’m praying as I battle bitterness that I will immediately remember how He loved me, His enemy. I’m praying when we face death and grieve that it will bring alive His suffering and death in my heart. And even more, that it’ll mean even greater joy to me that because of His suffering and death and resurrection, there will be a day when there will be no pain, no tears, and no more death. As I taste the pain of sin and death here, I can so much more appreciate the promise of them having been beaten and ended through Christ.

Easter is beginning to mean so much more to me. It’s seeing His death and rejoicing with real joy at what it means for us. And it’s setting me hope in Him fully through it to see Him more and more daily and rejoice in my own sufferings. I’m beginning to learn Him as my full JOY and strength. This is how we can endure suffering here: by knowing the great treasure He is. Yes, this is what I want- to have such confidence rooted in Him that all hard and good times draw me closer to Him and in them, by His grace, I can point to Him. 

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