The devotional I am reading is Journey to the Cross: Readings & Devotions for Lent © 2013 by Providence Church.
"Jesus’ death does not take away our suffering, but it gives profound meaning and purpose to it."
- OK this sounds great and all, very old man wise like... but is it true?
I think so, now I may not have suffered compared to others, but in my own context I have endured my own pain and hardships, and I know that those have either driven me into the arms of Jesus, creating in me a deeper faith, peace and trust in Him OR it has caused me to run and fall flat on my face causing in the end even more pain and suffering. So it is a choice, I need to chose to run to Jesus in times of trial, whether that is loosing a loved one, being rejected because of my faith, being stressed and anxious about money issues or the temptation to do things I know are unhealthy for me. In everything we all have a choice, to either allow God to use our suffering to shape, stretch and grow us OR to let it make us bitter and angry people. We have a choice life OR death, I urge you dear brothers and sisters CHOSE LIFE!
So now is the time to get personal. How are you currently experiencing pain, hardship, and suffering? Are you choosing to run to Jesus and allow Him to use it for your good? OR are you getting angry and bitter (trust me this is a really tempting way to go)? How do you think God could be using your hardship to shape you? How are you preventing Him from doing so? Get out of His way, let Him into the pain, and He promises to give you new life!
Note: it is not by escaping the hard stuff but it by going through the hard stuff with Him that you will live, even if you feel like you are dyeing.
Consider James’ exhortation to those who suffer: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).