Suffering Is Necessary

Why go through the valley of the shadow of death when I can just fly above it or sidestep around it?

Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory? ~ Luke 24:26

READING: Luke 24:13-35

Sometimes I wish that I was demonized! I daydream that it’d be easier to just cast out a demon than to work through a deeply personal and painful issue over the course of months, years, or even a lifetime. Why go through the valley of the shadow of death when I can just fly above it or sidestep around it or, better yet, be teleported instantly to the other side?

This kind of short-term, arrival-survival, escapist thinking is immature, counter-productive, and at best, naive. And, unfortunately, all too common.

Why was it necessary for Jesus to suffer? Why does suffering come before glory? There are many responses to these questions. I submit one here: When humanity shook her fists at God the Father and demanded an answer to the question of suffering, God gave us his Son and his Son gave us himself as an atoning sacrifice for our suffering.

Suffering is inevitable. Suffering is necessary. Suffering leads to glory. Jesus suffers with us and in our stead. Suffering has helped me to believe that this is enough, that God’s grace is enough.

Church planting is a glorious task because it is accomplished in the crucible of suffering with Jesus, so that we might know him in life and in death. Suffer well, dear church planters. Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

Dear Father, I confess that I have been using my faith as an escape from reality and that I have avoided and over-simplified. You laid down your life of your own accord.Help me to do the same. Amen. 

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