In religion, we refer to Christ’s Passion. This is the name to describe Christ’s suffering and death. Although Jesus despised the shame and horrific experience of the coming execution, he passionately committed himself for the benefit of the joy that would follow.

Childbirth may be a pale comparison to help us see the commitment and endurance of Jesus in suffering. As a mother endures the pain to bring forth life, Jesus’ excruciating misery and death would benefit the world with new life.

Jesus described a higher (or perhaps a lower) way of living.

Luke 9:
23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 

This is a counter-intuitive philosophy of living. It is letting go in order to take hold. It is closing your eyes to see and self-discovery through self-denial. Many of Jesus’ crowds walked away from this level of commitment.

This is an idea that you cannot half-read. Deny yourself, take up your cross and die daily—this sounds like a dreadful path. A full read tells us that in the end you will actually find more than the world can give. Lose your self-importance and ‘me first’ attitude to follow Jesus. In the end, you will be lifted up.

Every day we choose what we will do with the suffering and hardships. Do we find the passion of the Christ who sees an end to misery and commits to endure all things?

C.S. Lewis said, ‘some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith but they are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the passion of Christ. [i]

We tend to run quickly from the sufferings that purify us. We settle for the pleasurable things that hint at wholeness, but become substitutes for God. Good things are easily perverted into death traps.

[i] C.S. Lewis, Letters To Malcolm: Chiefly On Prayer