Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Suffering: A Vocation (Hebrews 13)

"And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through His own blood" (Heb. 13:12).

Sometimes God calls certain people to suffer and perhaps even to die. We discover this truth in the lives of at least three people in Scripture: Job, the blind man in John 9, and Jesus Christ.

In the face of suffering, Job concluded that we should accept not only good from God but also “adversity” (Job 2:9–10). Despite his pain, Job said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (13:15). Job did not understand why God was causing him to suffer, but he knew that he could trust God and that He would deliver him. Sadly, Job’s friends were not much help. They assumed Job was suffering because he had sinned. Job’s friends made judgments they had no business making. God allowed Job to suffer so that he would come to know his Lord more fully, that he would deepen his faith and trust in God’s righteousness.

The blind man in John 9 learned more of God’s character through his suffering as well. When the disciples saw the blind man, they asked “whose sin caused his blindness?” Like Job’s friends they assumed the blindness was some sort of punishment. But Christ showed that suffering serves purposes other than punishment. Jesus explained to the disciples that this man’s blindness was intended to show God’s power. Through the man’s blindness, God was able to manifest His power in healing him. If we do not face sickness and pain in this life, we will know nothing of God’s power in overcoming these afflictions. Time and again Jesus revealed His power and authority through healing the blind, sick, and lame.

Jesus not only revealed His power through His miracles, He revealed it through His death. The entire purpose of His life was to die. His life was plagued with suffering, which culminated in death on the cross. Yet through His death, His power was revealed in the resurrection. He showed His abundant mercy and goodness in taking the place of sinners, dying on a cross, and purchasing eternal life for His children. Jesus could face suffering and death because He knew He was doing His Father’s will. We, too, can face suffering and even death because we are called to carry out the will of our Father who provides us with the grace to endure all things.

How do Jesus’ sufferings relate to someone today who is enduring trials or facing adversity? (see Heb. 4:14–16). Make a list of specific trials Christ faced. How does this comfort you in your trials? Thank Christ for being a suffering servant and for providing comfort to His people.