Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Suffering and Hope

Yesterday morning I spent sometime reflecting on suffering in the context of my upcoming year in the Downtown Eastside. In Hebrews 5:8 it says “He (Jesus) learned obedience through what He suffered.” I looked up how “He suffered” is translated from Greek:

Original Word: πάσχω
Part of Speech: Verb
Transliteration: paschó
Phonetic Spelling: (pas'-kho)
Phonetic Spelling: (pas'-kho)
Short Definition: I am acted upon, suffer
Definition: I am acted upon in a certain way, either good or bad; I experience ill treatment, suffer

pásxō (a primitive verb) – properly, to feel heavy emotion, especially suffering; affected, experiencing feeling (literally "sensible" = "sensed-experience"); "the feeling of the mind, emotion, passion" (J. Thayer).  Copyright © 1987, 2011 by Helps Ministries, Inc. For complete text and additional resources visit:

What I found particularly significant is the strong emphases on the feelings (thoughts and emotions) not necessarily the physical (which my mind directly goes to when I read “He suffered”).

We all suffer.

JESUS! The Son of GOD! Jesus, who was without sin, who is God learned obedience through suffering, what makes us think we can skip out on these lessons?

Not all of us will be physically persecuted (suffer) like many of our brothers and sisters around the World.

But Our Father knows what is best for us, and He loves us to much to leave us in the character state we are in (which I don’t know about you, but I am a bit of a mess!).

Our Father will teach us obedience through suffering (we should thank Him for this, because He is creating in us the beauty and likeness of His Son, Jesus).

Thank you Father God. Amen?

OK. We have established that we will suffer. Could you use some hope to set your eyes on? I know that I need some. After reflecting on suffering God gave me Revelation 7: 9-17:

9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

   “Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”

 11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:

Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.

 13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”

 14 I answered, “Sir, you know.”

   And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore,

   they are before the throne of God
   and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne
   will shelter them with his presence.

16 ‘Never again will they hunger;
   never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’
   nor any scorching heat.

17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne
   will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
   ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”

Yes! I want to be there, I want to be wearing a white robe, and I want to be part of the great multitude of people from every nation, tribe, people and language!

This is why I will endure what little suffering I may encounter at War College in the Downtown Eastside, because I want to be one of these saints dressed in a white robe (maybe pink?) before the Living God. In a time not to far from now He will wipe every tear away from my eyes.

Thank you Jesus! 

You will suffer.

When you are suffering, reflect on this day (that may come sooner than you might think).

Be encouraged, anything and everything you endure will be worth it in the end.

When you are standing (or flat on your face) before the Living God, He will lift your face, wipe away every tear and says toYOU “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful, now enter into your eternal rest and let's celebrate together!”

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