Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Hebrews 12:2
Why, Lord? So many times we ask this question when we are trying to make sense of our circumstances. We ask God why he would allow His children to suffer with pain, sorrow, and strife. I mean, the word says we have been made new. That the old is gone, and the new has come, so shouldn’t that be true for our struggles? Once we give our lives to Christ, shouldn’t EVERYTHING be shiny and new?
Unfortunately, this is often what we tend to believe as we begin our spiritual path with Christ, and I speak from my own experience here. We expect everything to be rosy once we become believers. Once we take communion. Once we get baptized.
And, I will admit. I still question God today. Why does he allow us to endure pain? For someone who has dealt with chronic pain for almost 20 years, I have asked this question frequently. I have had test after test, taken countless medications, and tried “holistic” treatments all in an effort to make my body “new” again. And, as I thought I was one step closer to finally getting some relief for the pain that has slowly been getting worse, I stumbled across a roadblock. A phone call from my doctor indicating my procedure would not be covered, had me questioning God’s purpose in all this pain once again.
“Why then does my suffering continue? Why is this wound incurable? Your help seems as uncertain as a seasonal brook, like a spring that has gone dry.” Jeremiah 15:18
And I felt just like Jeremiah. I felt like he was in no way helping me out here, providing a little relief, or assisting in making me “new.” Just like Jeremiah, I questioned God. Why? Is this how you want me to live my life? Is this how you want me to endure each day? Unable to sit comfortably through six measly hours of work? Unable to bend over a dishwasher?
Then, I remembered what it really meant to be made new, after reading this from the book Living So That by Wendy Blight:
At the moment of our salvation, we, too, like Christ, die and are buried. But ours is a spiritual rather than a physical death. Our sin nature, our “old self,” dies with Christ. And just as Jesus was raised from the dead into new life, we, too, are raised from spiritual death to a new spiritual life.
A new spiritual life. Not a new life without pain. Not a new life without struggle. Not a new life without enduring sorrow and strife.
This “new” life also came at a price. A price that was far more painful than chronic back pain (despite, what I may feel when I bend over the dishwasher)
I certainly have never had to endure the pain of a beating.
I have never had to endure the pain of nail-pierced hands and feet.
While my pain may be piercing, I certainly don’t know the pain of being pierced in the side.
While my pain may be unbearable, it could never measure up to the pain of wearing a crown of thorns.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorry or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. Revelation 21:4
So, in my pain I will remember the one who suffered immeasurable and indescribable pain for me. Who suffered pain so that one day I would be free from mine. So that my pain would be no more.