“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.” ~
I do not know a whole lot of people who endure suffering well. Most people I know — myself included — do not like to suffer. We do everything that we can to avoid suffering. If we are going to suffer, we attempt to mitigate it ahead of time. That would explain the number of prescriptions for pain pills that are filled each day, just as one example.
Someone who endured suffering and who was greater than His own suffering? That would be Jesus Christ. When Pilate condemned Jesus, Jesus did not condemn Pilate in return. He accepted His condemnation and began the painful walk to Calvary. When Jesus met the women of Jerusalem, He tried to comfort them, telling them to weep for themselves and not for Him. When Jesus was hanging on the cross, He asked His Father to forgive those who were jeering at Him and who were playing an active role in His death. Before He died, Jesus forgave the repentant thief hanging with Him, assuring him that he would be with Jesus that day in paradise.
This is not to say that Jesus did not suffer. We know that He suffered and suffered horribly. Studies have been done on the form of execution known as crucifixion. It was designed to inflict the maximum amount of pain while keeping someone alive for the longest time possible. It was pure torture.
What can endure suffering such as that? What can overcome suffering such as that? There is one thing and one thing alone: love.
Jesus loved us too much to allow His suffering to get in His way. He had a mission to accomplish, a mission that would save us all. In accepting His suffering, He brought us the opportunity to return to Him at the end of our days.
Are you sore today? Are you afflicted by illness or long-standing disease? You can rise above it by focusing not on the suffering but upon your love for God. Unite yourself to God’s love. Unite yourself to Jesus’ suffering. You will not only be able to endure whatever comes your way, you will rise above it.
FAITH ACTION: If you have allowed your suffering to drag you down, apologize to God, get back on your feet, and try again.