Posted by: kathyhugs | April 11, 2009

Good Friday & Suffering

Last night we went to the Good Friday service at our church. This is my favorite service of the entire year. Yes even more than Easter or Christmas! It is this service that I have cherished ever since I accepted the gift of salvation through Jesus. I cry every Good Friday because I am reminded that I am a sinner and that it was only through the suffering and death of Jesus Christ that promised me an eternity with God. It has meant so much more to me now that we have been separated from Tonia, for this moment. I know that I will see her again. She accepted Christ’s gift of the cross so I will be dancing with her one day.

But knowing this doesn’t take away the hurt in my heart or the longing I feel to hold her again. I also hurt for our families who don’t know God and who refuse to even talk about Him. My heart aches to speak the truth into their lives but every time I have tried I have been rebuffed. So we pray and pray that their ears and their hearts would be open to God’s voice. I know that without God in my life I would not have survived the murder of our daughter. The horrific act of violence that took her life and even today the details that continue to be revealed to us as the trial becomes closer; tears my heart apart. But I have a God who understands my suffering. He experienced suffering. He voluntarily accepted the beatings and the death on the cross for me. I would have traded places with my daughter and I would lay down my life for my son but I could not give up my life for you! But Jesus did!

Jesus knows my suffering intimately. He understands my tears. He loves me. He promises that one day he will wipe away every tear from my eyes (Revelation 7:17). So Good Friday is a reminder that it is my sins that were nailed to the cross, that Jesus died for me and that one day I will again walk in Heaven with my daughter. That promise gives me an opportunity today to pray for our friends and family and for their acceptance of this gift!

Here is a devotional that touched my heart. I love you!

The Significance of Suffering
from today’s Our Daily Bread devotional:

“Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:3

Let’s be honest, most of us would have to admit that we have a natural aversion to suffering. It may not bother us so much when “bad” people suffer, but we often get bent out of shape when suffering happens to “good” people—especially to us! We think that life owes us happiness, comfort, wealth, and a bit of prosperity. So when life deals us a blow, it’s no wonder we are prone to “grow weary and lose heart.”

Thankfully the writer of Hebrews helps put things into perspective by instructing us to “consider” the suffering of Jesus. When we fully grasp the terrible suffering that Jesus Christ—the only perfect person to walk this planet—endured on our behalf, it makes all the difference.

It’s significant to note that Jesus knew exactly what was coming. The night before His death, He told His disciples, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15, italics mine). I have often thought that it would have been a lot easier for Him to die a different way—something more sudden and less violent. Why was such deep agony required?

Jesus knew that suffering is part and parcel of Satan’s grip on our lives. Satan loves to bring it on, because he believes the more suffering he can throw at us, the more we will become defeated, discouraged, and disengaged from God. That’s his plan. And so the enemy threw the book at Jesus. Satan entered the heart of Judas, which meant that Jesus would suffer the bitter betrayal of a trusted friend. The kangaroo courts and crowds declared Jesus to be a criminal, beat and mocked Him, and inflicted terrible agony on Him. He stumbled up the cobblestone steps carrying His own cross, felt the stab of the sword in His side, the nails in His hands and feet, the thorns on His brow. He tasted suffering for us, and all the while Satan said, “Take that!”

What Satan did not know was that behind the scenes, God was working to use Jesus’ experience of suffering to turn the tables on Satan and defeat him through the suffering. The suffering of Jesus was a prelude to the ultimate defeat of sin, death, and hell. Because He died on the cross and suffered for us, we too can be assured that in the depths of suffering there is the reality that victory will be God’s end game for us. So, when Satan heaps suffering on your life, you can be certain that God, who works all things together for good (Romans 8:28), is ready to turn the tables on Satan to bring victory out of defeat for you.

I don’t know about you, but I’m really thankful that Jesus was not only willing to die, but to defeat the stronghold of suffering in the process. He willingly walked into the arena of suffering in order to achieve complete, final victory over the ravaging effects of sin. And what’s more, He proved that there’s life beyond the grave.

So don’t miss the significance in your time of suffering! When Satan throws his best stuff at you, because of Jesus you can believe that God is both able and ready to turn the tables on him—and to bring you out with hands held high in victory!


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