Famous Last Words

Hope And Strength From Jesus’ Final Words

We anticipate a day without pain. Jesus promised it would come, but He also warned about an existence full of suffering and an increase in persecution while we eagerly await His return. How do we as Watchmen deal with it? Some ignore the pain and attempt to tough it out. Others medicate it. Neither solution works, at least not permanently.

Jesus, the same person who will eradicate pain, personally felt it. He confronted it and overcame it. It did not control Him or destroy Him. Yes, Jesus was God, but He took on flesh so He could experience what it means to be one of us including our pain. Since Jesus was thoroughly human, what worked for Him can work for us.

The most intense suffering Jesus experienced was His time on the cross. During His hours there, He did the same thing most hurting people do—He spoke. Wounded people commonly use their tongues to express anger, frustration, discouragement, confusion, despair, and fear. Jesus used His tongue to cultivate faith.

Jesus made seven statements from Calvary’s hill. The original intent of these pronouncements had nothing to do with pain management, but Watchmen can apply them to their injuries and see healing be the result. Each statement provides a key to effectively overcoming pain’s power to destroy. As we examine them, we expect that you will find hope for your future and strength for the difficulties you now face.

 

Jesus Forgave Those Who Inflicted His Pain“Father, forgive them…” (Luke 23:34)

Forgiveness. We begin at perhaps the most challenging place. The first key is forgiveness. You have heard that before, so you are already prepared with your well-rehearsed script.

“It hurts too much. You don’t understand what their actions cost me! They had no right. If I forgive them, that will release them from the penalty of what they did. I want them to pay!”

Turn your eyes from your pain for a moment and visualize, if you are willing, the torment Jesus endured. The soldiers mocked Him. The soldiers beat Him. The blood flowed freely from His body long before the soldiers impaled Him. Read the crucifixion accounts whenever your memory needs a refresher. We could go through a graphic description of the physical nature of His suffering. Suffice it to say that Jesus knows pain.

To compare Jesus’ suffering to yours is not my goal. Each person’s pain is their own. Instead, contrast His response with yours. As the Creator of the universe, Jesus deserves worship, love, and obedience. He didn’t get what He deserved that day, and neither did His attackers. He said, “Father, forgive them.” Perhaps you can hear those words coming from Jesus’ mouth, but you have difficulty imagining them coming from your own.

It is easier and more emotionally satisfying to blame someone, to inflame the wound with anger than to forgive. Holding onto the hurt doesn’t increase your attacker’s pain, and it doesn’t ease yours. It just lengthens your suffering. Forgiveness releases pain’s power to hold you down. Only those who have made forgiveness a lifestyle by constant dependence on God’s Spirit find they can forgive with diminishing effort.

Technically, Jesus’ words weren’t an offer of His forgiveness. Rather they implored the Father to forgive those guilty of His Son’s torture on that day. Perhaps you can identify.  The source of your suffering may be the hurt another inflicted on someone you love.

Your pain may originate from non-malicious circumstances beyond your control. Spiritual warfare rages around you; people get injured in battle. Who wounded you? Maybe you blame yourself for your distress. You might even suspect that God is at fault somehow. Regardless of the pain’s source, forgiveness is difficult.

Jesus offered a justification for the Father to forgive the soldiers: “They don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) Did they know they were putting spikes through His hands and feet? Yes. Did they know each blow caused brutal trauma? Yes. Were they aware the crucifixion would result in Jesus’ death? That was their plan. But they did not understand the sinfulness of their actions, nor did they know the person they afflicted was God.

Even if those who caused your pain knew exactly what they were doing, you still have good reason to forgive. You have bruised others, and you, through your sin, caused Jesus’ pain (Isaiah 53:5). Jesus forgave you.

For those who refuse to forgive, Jesus cautioned that their stubbornness would short-circuit the Father’s forgiveness toward them (Matt. 6:15). Not holding grudges and mercifully releasing people from their debts is a potent witness to the change Jesus can accomplish. Forgiveness is an act of faith and an act of obedience at the same time (Rom. 12:19). Jesus is pleased with both.

Forgiveness is the first key. It opens the crustiest lock. If you find it impossible to let go of your bitterness, then the remaining keys are useless.

Jesus Comforted Others While He Was In Pain“Woman, behold your son.” (John 19:26)

Jesus was on the cross dying. He was there because a Roman governor believed maintaining the status quo was more important than justice. He was there because the crowd, spurred on by the religious elite, called for a murderer’s release and the Life-giver’s execution. Pilate presented a beaten and bloodied Jesus to the crowd. He expected their pity, but his attempt did not sway their bloodthirsty attitude. There was no compassion among any of the crucifixion participants.

How was it possible for the soldiers to inflict such harm without vicariously experiencing it themselves? Mercy was not part of their conditioning. Their reaction to other’s suffering showed the scars that the consistent torture they practiced had produced in them. They had grown insensitive to pain.

Pilate washed his hands of the matter. The soldiers followed the callous example of their leader and gambled over Jesus’ clothing after attaching Him to the cross. Mocking flowed from the mouths of those at Jesus’ feet and those destined to die with Him. Jesus was in an atmosphere devoid of love.

While the witnesses fixed their eyes on Jesus, He focused His attention on someone else—His mother. Mary was part of the congregation that day. Imagine her thoughts: Angels announced Jesus’ birth, shepherds proclaimed His presence, and wise men worshiped His majesty. Now, those He came to save had crucified Him.

Jesus was Mary’s Messiah, but to her, He was something more. Jesus was her son. He occupied a highly sensitive place in her heart. His pain was her suffering.

Mary’s other children were not present at the cross. They did not accept Jesus’ claims to be their Messiah. They thought He was on the verge of insanity (John 7:5). Jesus was an embarrassment to the family, the elephant-in-the-room no one talked about at family gatherings especially because of the questionable circumstances surrounding His birth. But shouldn’t His siblings have been there to provide comfort, if not for their brother, for their mother?

Mary received no solace from her subsequent children, but her firstborn, God’s only Son, thought of her while He was dying. From the place of suffering, Mary heard these words: “Behold your son.” (John 19:26) She knew what Jesus meant. He wasn’t telling her to look at Him; Mary was already transfixed. With Jesus’ eyes and His head, the only body parts He could freely move, Jesus indicated that John was the “son” He meant.

Jesus would soon be gone. He appointed John to take care of Mary and ease her suffering. Jesus showed his mother compassion though none provided it for Him.

What Jesus did from the cross was His typical behavior. He consistently served others out of personal emptiness. Jesus was too tired to go with His disciples into a Samaritan village, but His weariness did not prevent Him from ministering to a promiscuous woman (John 4). He physically and spiritually fed the 5000 though the loss of John the Baptist had emotionally drained Him (John 6).

Jesus did not wait for the satisfaction of His needs before offering acts of healing to others. His needs found their satisfaction through His service (John 4:31-34). Jesus took on needy flesh due to His compassion for hurting people (Phil. 2:5-8). Jesus established the pattern for His followers. How He responded to distress was not normal among humans then, nor is it common now.

The sufferer’s temptation is either to turn inward (“I’ve been hurt too often and too deeply to make myself vulnerable again”) or to lash out maliciously (“You wounded me; I will crush you”). Neither reaction will bring relief. Selfless ministry is the salve that will ease your pain.

Countless bold sufferers will testify to the pain-killing effect of service to someone else. A minister goes to the hospital to encourage a friend only to come away having received a greater blessing than the one he bestowed. A terrible thunderstorm brought down multiple trees in the neighbor’s yard. A chainsaw became a scalpel for heart surgery, and neighbors who had been strangers find it now strange to not share life together. Suffering provides common ground around which relationships can grow.

What Jesus did and what He asks of you is counter-intuitive. You are already in enough pain; why would you, in empathy, want to add someone else’s pain to your own? Because it expresses faith. It releases God’s blessing on you and them. It provides strength and healing. It steals the power to destroy from the source of your suffering—the enemy. You become the victor.

However potent the torture you are enduring, you do not have permission to roll up in a ball and hide. Selfishness does not cease to be a sin simply because you are in pain. It is when you are hurting that people can most clearly hear your words even if you only have breath enough to whisper. This is your chance to show how real Jesus is to you. Don’t miss it.

Jesus Visualized What Lay Beyond His Pain“Today, you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

Mary was not the only person who benefited from Jesus’ selfless compassion that day. Two thieves hung on either side of Him. One of these stubbornly persisted in the mockery he hurled at Jesus. But the other, due to Jesus’ statements from the cross, quickly softened his tone: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

 Faith found its foundation, and repentance was the result. You could even say the thief became an evangelist based on the words he spoke to his friend. In response to a guilty man’s plea, Jesus promised paradise.

What scenes flood your mind when you hear the word “paradise”? A white beach on a lush island in front of warm water stretching out into the distant horizon? Or maybe your idea is a small cabin where you can curl up in front of the roaring fireplace while gazing at the snow-covered mountains just outside the window. Paradise for you might be an activity—bike-riding, yoga, bungee-jumping, chess or reading. The various visions of paradise may not agree with each other, but they all have one thing in common: they are free of pain.

Luke referred to this existence Jesus spoke of as “Abraham’s bosom.” (Luke 16:22) To draw someone into your bosom is to wrap your arms around them and welcome them into your life. The bosom is a place of intimacy, comfort, and relationship.

Lazarus, the main character in Luke’s account endured tremendous physical pain. His heart-wrenching isolation on earth intensified his suffering. Lazarus welcomed death because it terminated his misery. He enjoyed both a healthy body and the close company of others.

From Luke’s designation of Lazarus’ new home, we learn a truth: No place is paradise if the pleasure is private. It must be shared. Oh, we might like a little quietness for a while, but eventually, we long for companionship.

So together, Jesus’ word “paradise” and Luke’s description “Abraham’s bosom” would indicate a place free of pain where people we love and who love us surround us. Isn’t that the kind of existence you desire someday? But “someday” seems so far away, and pain seems to last so long.

Duration has always been a factor in the ability to survive distress. Both those who are five and those who are fifty receive encouragement from the medical technician’s promise that the uncomfortable procedure will be over quickly. Even when the pain does not intensify over time, suffering seems to increase in proportion to how long one must endure it. The will to survive, be tough, and force a smile through the pain diminishes as we mark off successive days on the calendar.

Job knew suffering. He lost his ten children, his finances, his health, his relationships and his reputation. He asked a question with which you may be familiar: “How long?” (Job 7:19) Isaiah wondered about that too. He gladly and quickly volunteered for service to the One on the throne only to discover that hardship and failure would characterize his ministry. When he asked God about the length of his service, God told him he must serve until Israel’s suffering was complete (Isaiah 6:11-12).

Your suffering, like Israel’s, has a completion date. When God has accomplished in you or in your surroundings the purpose your pain serves, your pain will cease. Release from pain is coming through healing, Jesus’ return, or through death. That day may be sooner than you think.

A dramatic shift of thought occurs between what the thief requested and what Jesus offered. Both statements anticipated the future. The criminal’s hope was for a distant future – “when you come into your kingdom,” but the King’s promise was something more immediate – “Today.” The rebel, recognizing his debt, dreaded horrible, prolonged retribution after his death for the acts which led to his crucifixion. Imagine his shock to hear his death would bring a prompt end to his suffering.

Jesus’ suffering ended that day too. When preachers talk about Jesus’ dialog with the thief, they usually focus on what His words meant to the recipient. Few consider what those syllables meant to their source. Jesus said, “Today, you will be in paradise with me.” Jesus knew He would shortly be in paradise. He could look past His pain and see the approaching joy.

Only a few hours earlier, Jesus spoke of His departure. Jesus’ words stunned, confused, and saddened His disciples. Jesus jolted their perception and told them they should be glad—not because Jesus was leaving but because He was going home. They should be rejoicing…for Him (John 14:28). Though their suffering was just beginning, His would soon be over.

The home-going Jesus anticipated didn’t lessen His pain, but it gave Him strength to endure. He looked beyond His blinding pain to behold the beauty that was in store (Heb. 12:2). He chose to focus on the eternal benefits of the cross instead of the temporary loss His sacrifice incurred (2 Cor. 4:18).

Hope kept Jesus going. It can do the same for you. Cheer up. A better day is coming (Rev. 3:11). This too shall pass, and it might just happen today.

Jesus Acknowledged His Pain“I thirst” (John 19:28)

“Away in a Manger,” a famous Christmas carol, includes this line: “The cattle are lowing, the poor baby awakes, but little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes.” The song is beautiful, but it suggests that Jesus’ birth and maturing process was somehow different from that of the average child. It was not. Jesus was fully human. When He was uncomfortable because He was sleepy, wet, or hungry, He cried out.

As God, Jesus has no needs. He is the great “I AM,” the self-sufficient One. As a human, Jesus experienced all the deficiencies of flesh. His belly rumbled (Matt. 4:2), and his eyes grew heavy with weariness (Matt. 8:24). Fasting forty days and spending the whole night in prayer were just as physically difficult for Him as they are for us. He grew sad (John 11:24) and excitedly rejoiced (Luke 10:17-21). He belched and excreted waste. Jesus was like us (Heb. 4:15).

So when the soldiers drove spikes through Jesus’ hands and feet, when the beams which bore Jesus’ body slid jarringly into the hole, and when His beaten back grated against the rough wood of the cross, Jesus didn’t supernaturally deaden His pain. Neither did He taunt His abusers and act as if their actions did not affect Him thereby refusing to give them their morbid satisfaction. The events surrounding the cross brought Jesus unimaginable agony. His facial contortions and guttural sounds convinced the congregants. Jesus’ suffering was genuine.

Your suffering is also genuine. Others may not recognize its depth. Pain is an extremely personal experience. When a friend says, “I know what you’re going through,” they may indeed have a mutual experience, but that doesn’t mean they share the same level of pain or that it affects them the same way. None of us can accurately know the anguish someone else is feeling.

Doctors use pain to assess the seriousness of a situation. “On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your pain?” The flaw in this evaluation tool is that some people have a higher level of tolerance than others.

We tell our children, especially our boys, to toughen up. We train them to deny pain, to push it away, to keep it to themselves since no one wants to hear about it. The message we give them is the message ingrained on our hearts: keep your wounds hidden.

Jesus said, “I thirst.” Jesus was human. You are human too. If He was willing to announce His need, even in front of His enemies, why do you allow your pride to prevent you from admitting yours? The only way for your need to be fully satisfied is for you to acknowledge to yourself, to others and to God that the deficit exists (James 4:2; 5:16).

To announce pain is to admit weakness. No one wants to look weak. No Christian wants to look “unspiritual” either. Somehow, we have gotten the idea that godliness and cheerfulness go together, that if those who look up to us or those to whom we want to be a witness saw a tear fall from our eyes, our positive influence over them would be ruined.

What image of Christianity are you trying to present?

Do Christians die of cancer, suffer from Alzheimer’s, and produce children with brain abnormalities? Yes. Can God’s promise to meet all our needs still be true even though one of His children has unmet needs in his life right now? Yes. Is it possible to be full of the Spirit and be stressed, even depressed? YES. How do I know? Because Jesus was a “man of sorrows” and “acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). He said, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death” (Mark 14:34).

The world around us and those we disciple don’t need us to be happy. They need us to be authentic.

There is no spiritual value or witness in being tough. There is spiritual value in not giving up and not permitting your broken-heartedness to cause you to attack or withdraw from those around you. There is righteous merit in testifying to your trust even as you weep, being obedient and worshiping when you don’t understand (Job 1:20-22).

“I’m hurting.”

Saying the words can be just as painful and wrenching as the wound itself. But when we courageously acknowledge our pain, we move one step closer to healing.

Jesus Expressed Loneliness During His Pain“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46)

Jesus’ body hurt. He wore a crown of thorns on His head. The soldiers yanked His beard from His face. Merciless torture ripped His back to shreds. Hours spent on the cross produced their own level of suffering. Jesus sustained physical injury.

Severe pain rarely affects its recipient in just one realm. Humans are multi-faceted creatures – body, soul, and spirit. Each part intertwines with the others. Pain may begin in any one of these three components and then extend into the full person.

Though Jesus’ physical pain was the most evident, His spiritual suffering was the most intense. Jesus was pure, clean, holy – utterly separate from sin. Jesus had lived among sinful humans for over thirty years. Now He was dying in their place. “[God] made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).

It is difficult for us to empathize with this kind of experience. We have known sin our whole lives. We are comfortable with it—too comfortable. For Jesus, bearing our sin in His body on the tree (2 Pet. 2:24) was spiritually painful. Imagine an extreme germophobe walking into the most secure vault at the CDC (storehouse for and research on the world’s deadliest diseases) and willingly exposing himself to AIDS, Ebola, the Spanish flu, SARS, and the Bubonic plague. That might begin to give you an idea of what Jesus endured in carrying man’s sin.

Jesus’ spiritual suffering created an emotional void in His life. For the second time in the span of a few hours, Jesus expressed a personal need—something He had rarely done during His entire earthly existence. He said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This was not a separation of the Trinity, but rather a fulfillment of the Old Testament predictions that the Messiah would suffer and be rejected (Isaiah 53). Likewise, we may sometimes feel God has forsaken us, yet He is with us through our pain. His plan remains at work even when we endure struggles in this life (Rom. 8:37-39).

I do not know the full theological significance of Jesus’ question. But I know what it means emotionally. Jesus was lonely. For three dark hours, He felt forsaken by His Father (Matt. 27:45).

Pain and loneliness go together especially when that pain is chronic (long-term). People are usually there for you at the beginning. They bring meals. They stop by. They offer to help. But the calls decrease in frequency as the months drag on. Your pain doesn’t lessen, but their apparent interest does.

Jesus can empathize. He knew betrayal. His disciples abandoned Him. And He knew what it was to have your words misunderstood and used against you in your time of greatest sorrow.

The crowd thought Jesus was crying for Elijah to come and help Him. They tried to quiet Him by applying a superficial fix to His lips (Matt. 27:47-49). This was yet another opportunity for them to mock Him. The onlookers didn’t supply what Jesus needed nor did they understand His cry.

People won’t understand you either.

The crowd should have known Jesus was not calling for Elijah. He had no reason to call for Elijah. No human could ease Jesus’ anguish.

People can’t fix your deepest problems either…but God can. Cry out to God even when you feel like He has abandoned you. Tell Him your fears. Don’t hold anything back.

You, like Jesus, may make some scandalous statements. How do you think Jesus’ followers present at the cross felt about His? How will they react to yours? Job’s friends didn’t respond well to his complaint (Job 4:1-5). Their lack of understanding and their unwillingness to give Job the leeway his pain deserved threatened to drive a deep wedge between great friends. Job wasn’t seeking their attention; he sought God’s.

As you cry out to God with your fears and your feelings, follow the example of David, Jeremiah, Elijah, Job, and others (Psalm 42:5; Lam. 3:22-24). Let your faith in God’s promises be your guiding light while you endure your emotional darkness. What is true and what you feel are rarely the same thing. You may feel lonely, abandoned, and forsaken, but you are never alone (Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5).

Jesus Saw Purpose In His Pain“It is finished.” (John 19:30)

Breathing was difficult on the cross. Death came most often from asphyxiation, not blood loss. The soldiers positioned the condemned bodies in such a way that the normal process of inhaling and exhaling could only be accomplished as the criminals pushed up on the nails protruding from their feet.  Getting even a small breath was a struggle and produced intense pain.

When the Bible makes a point of not just what Jesus spoke but how He spoke, it’s significant. Using His remaining strength to push Himself up and inhale deeply, with a loud voice, Jesus exclaimed, “It is finished!” Jesus’ statement was not a whisper or a final gasp. He didn’t mumble. He spoke the message clearly and forcefully. Jesus accomplished His purpose. In His life and in His death, Jesus had one mission: “to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

Satan unsuccessfully worked through the centuries to nullify inspired prophecies concerning Jesus’ arrival (Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2). The enemy then used Herod and others in multiple failed attempts to kill Jesus before He could reach the cross. Satan knew the only way for Jesus to accomplish His purpose was through a sacrificial death. “Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.” (Heb. 9:22) The cross brought Jesus suffering, but it made the end of man’s suffering possible.

 “It is finished” was Jesus’ victory shout! He won! Death, Hell, the grave and Satan—they are now toothless villains who can only spark fear in those who are unaware of their foes’ defeat (1 Cor. 15:55-57). Jesus’ enemies killed Him, but they could not destroy Him.

Jesus’ ultimate success emerged from His most intense pain. He endured because He knew His sacrifice would produce salvation for His followers (Heb. 12:2). There was no other way.

God has a purpose for your pain too (Rom. 8:28). You may not see it, and you might not accept it, but it is true. God uses pain to shape the Christian’s character–deepening some traits and eradicating others (James 1:2-3; Dan. 4:31-32). Pain can also cause us to evaluate our lives until we find some failure for which God is disciplining us (Josh. 7:7-11; Heb. 12:5-6). Suffering prevents us from getting too comfortable on earth and provokes a longing for home (Matt. 6:19-20; Heb. 11:9-10).

You know you can only attain some benefits through suffering. The birth of a child. A narrow waistline or a six-pack. Retirement income that lasts as long as you do. Freedom. Overcoming cancer. The growth of Jesus’ kingdom. No easy route leads to these destinations. They all involve some missional misery.

What if God is testing you through the anguish He has brought you (Gen. 22:1-2)? What if the reason He has taken away the foundation of your comfort and given you a life where things rarely go the way they are “supposed” to go is to cause you to rest in Him alone (Psalm 46:1-3; 2 Cor. 1:8-9)?

People take solace in their belief that God will one day reveal the “why” behind the “what.” But His purposes may only ever be known to Him. Are you at peace with that?

Your present affliction affords you a tremendous opportunity to bring God glory (John 17:4). It’s natural to lash out in anger or despair. Others expect it. But when you supernaturally respond to life’s perceived inequities, you clearly show who you are and on whom you are depending (Matt. 5:16, 44-46).

You, like Jesus, may be breathing only with great effort. What you bear weighs heavily on your chest. It would be easy to give in and give up. Don’t do it. Take a deep breath. This is your chance to forcefully proclaim victory in an environment where people will listen.

Jesus Trusted His Father With His Pain“Into thy hands…” (Luke 23:46)

Jesus was not surprised by the events of that day. Jesus knew what was coming. He had known since the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). Sadly, being forewarned about the future rarely prepares a person for the reality of it. The doctor may do his best to help you anticipate the care your aging parents will need, but the steady degeneration and day-to-day interventions threaten to steal your resolve.

Whatever your specific situation, it’s pain can endanger more than your emotions, your health, or your finances. It can hurt your relationship with the Father. God often bears the blame for pain—its existence, its severity, and its duration.

Could God end all pain? Yes, and one day, He will (Rev. 21:4). He could prevent or reduce the suffering His children experience now. Who knows? We may, when we get to Heaven, find out how much trouble the Father held back from gaining entrance into His children’s lives.

You are a parent. It pains you when your children are hurting. So how do you think your heavenly Father feels about your struggles? He was not unaffected when He witnessed His “only begotten” Son’s pain (John 3:16). He feels yours too.

What was it like for the Father to hear Jesus cry out alone? Why didn’t the Father do something? We know why, and so did Jesus. The sense of abandonment still ached.

The cross was not the first time Jesus’ pleading was unproductive. Jesus prayed to His Father for a different solution to man’s sin problem (Matt. 26:39). The Father did not give Him what He asked for.

Jesus could have questioned His Father’s love, even accused Him. The Father was the one who sent Jesus to earth where He would experience a life of distress. He allowed His Son to endure attempted murder, temptation, unmet needs, the death of family and friends, mockery, rejection, betrayal and apparent failure. Then the Father destined Jesus to die at the hands of evil men. And yet, Jesus’ final statement from the cross declared His unmitigated trust in His Father.

“Into thy hands, I commit my spirit.”

Jesus felt like His Father had abandoned Him. At Jesus’ hour of greatest need, His Father’s presence was absent. You know what that feels like, don’t you? How is your trust level doing?

People can lose their faith in God due to their suffering. They stumble over the Father’s apparent lack of intervention and supposed lack of concern (Mark 4:37-38). Others, like Job, hold firmly to their confidence in God regardless of their present situation.

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him…” (Job 13:15)

“I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.” (Job 19:25-26)

Some might question the wisdom of a stubborn trust in the Father. After all, soon after Jesus declared His trust, He took one final breath, and then He died. What if God doesn’t give you what you request? Will you still trust Him?

Three men died that day just outside the walls of Jerusalem. For the unrepentant criminal, the cross was only the beginning of his suffering. But for Jesus and the one who cried out “remember me,” the Father permanently replaced their pain with unending joy the moment they breathed their last.

If your trust is founded on God fulfilling your request, then you may be disappointed. Like any good Father, God doesn’t always give what you, in your limited vision, desire. But God always does what is right. He bestows what is ultimately good for His kingdom and best for you.

Resurrection Followed Jesus’ Pain

Jesus died. That’s how His pain ended. Three days later, however, He rose from the dead. His pain and the death that followed were not the conclusion of His story. Your pain doesn’t need to be the end of your story either. Your death, like Jesus’, can be the end of your pain. Or it can be just the beginning.

Resurrection was coming for Jesus. Resurrection can also come for you, but only if you first die to yourself. Are you, with Jesus, willing to say, “Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46)? Doing so is the only way you will find ultimate peace.

 

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