I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
Throughout the Bible, we learn that joy and pain sometimes go hand in hand. Or rather, we could say that it is through pain and trials that God brings about his plan for us and the world in which we live.
If you have pain or sorrow in your life, it doesn’t mean that you’ve done something wrong or that God is mad at you. In Biblical times, this was the common view. Think of the question posed to Jesus: “who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (Jn. 9:2) While this may have been the accepted wisdom of the day, how do you make sense of the cross?
The cross is the deepest injustice the world has ever seen and yet through the pain and suffering of God himself we are given the gift of hope and peace. The cross was not forced upon Jesus or him “getting what was coming to him,” but was instead something he endured so that the joy of the resurrection might be known and experienced by those he loves.
Jesus knew the unsurpassed joy of the resurrection, and it was this hope that enabled him to freely endure the suffering and pain of the cross. He had clarity of vision and Spirit-empowered determination. If we are to be true followers of Christ, we must have this same clarity and determination!
We as his people must constantly be looking to see where Jesus is going and not let anything distract us from knowing him and being made into his likeness. And in light of the cross, we must have this enduring spirit even when it is hard, even when it is painful, and even when it is costly.
As Paul reminds us in Philippians 3:10, his desire is to “know Christ and the power of his resurrection, and to share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” Just as Jesus joyfully endured the pain of the cross, we too as his people are invited to know his life and joy, even in the midst of pain or trial. Be comforted today by the love of God shown on the cross and learn afresh from the Spirit how to find your joy in Him.
Prayer: Father, thank you for your love displayed for us upon the cross. Help us to know the joy of your presence that we might have the strength to endure any trials or pain that may come our way.
by Tripp Prince