Jesus spoke those words to his disciples the night of his Passion. As he gave that promise to his followers, he knew that in a few hours, his Father, who loved him as perfectly as Jesus loves us, would allow his Son to suffer betrayal, denial, abandonment, insults, injustice, whipping, crucifixion, mocking, death and entombment.
How could the Father ask the Son to undergo such pain, sorrow and agony when he loved him so?
The answer to this question is found in Hebrews 12:2: For the joy set before him Christ endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Christ's few hours of suffering and sorrow produced eternal joy: the joy of knowing his suffering redeemed countless people from all tribes, and nations, and tongues, delivering them from the Enemy, from sin, from death! The joy of returning to his Father, enthroned as Savior, King, Priest and Prophet! The joy of receiving all praise and honour and glory and power forever, and ever, and ever!
The Passion of Christ teaches us that in his infinite love, God will allow his children to experience suffering if it will produce fruit for eternity.
As we embrace God's will for us, we see him use our suffering to enable us to comfort others who suffer, such that we see them go from death to life and from despair to hope as they in turn embrace God’s will for them.
Can you see how God is using your suffering to help you and others produce eternal fruit?
Heavenly Father, what a comfort it is to know that when we suffer, this trial, this weakness, or this difficulty can be used to produce life, and joy and peace for others, and praise and honour and glory to your name, forever. Whenever I face tough times, may I continue to abide in your love and trust you, becoming more and more like Jesus. Keep my eyes fixed on the perfect eternity that awaits, and use my pain to the max to help others come to know you and grow in you. Amen.
Go Deeper - As a crisis mentor, I have the privilege of coming alongside people who suffer every day and offer them hope, compassion, and prayer. Why not let God use your experience of suffering to benefit others who are hurting? Become a mentor today. You will be fully trained, and you can set your own hours. Here is some information about that.
Photo Credit: Mili Vigerova