by Pastor John
There is a lot of confusion about suffering among followers of Jesus. Some say Jesus suffered so that they can live in complete victory. Others believe that their suffering is a sort of badge that earns them something from God. And as others think about God bringing them through suffering, it terrifies them and leaves them with a view of God as a tyrant.
Jesus puts it plainly throughout the book of Mark: He will suffer, and His followers will suffer as well. But how we frame that suffering is everything.
Our suffering is not a way of atoning for our sins. Jesus accomplished a full payment for all of our sins in His death on the cross. He gave His life as a ransom-payment. In His death, it is finished.
So suffering as we follow Christ presents a new opportunity to trust God.
Jack Miller writes,
"We secretly suspect that His will might be more demanding, more crucifying of our desires, than we can handle. But daily surrender to His will as you pray, and it will bring a freedom from anxiety that you cannot believe."
And as we experience suffering as followers of Jesus, we must remember that our suffering does not atone for anything. Whatever we are facing, Jesus experienced much more on our behalf.
Miller guides us to "Think much of the Savior's suffering for you on that dreadful cross, think much of your sin that provoked such suffering, and then enter by faith into the love that took away your sin and guilt, and then give your work your best. Give it your heart out of gratitude for a tender, seeking and patient Savior."
Prayer: Jesus, help me to trust you when I face suffering because of my association with you. Remind me of your great suffering on my behalf. And may that bring me a freedom to follow. Amen.