Every religion and every irreligious view must account for human suffering. Christians do not have the exclusive rights to suffering, but we do have a path through it.

Oswald Chambers said,

Suffering is the heritage of the bad, of the penitent, and of the Son of God. Each one ends in the cross. The bad thief is crucified, the penitent thief is crucified, and the Son of God is crucified. By these signs we know the widespread heritage of suffering.[1]

What can we learn about the path through suffering by looking to Jesus? There is a truth worth knowing in the sufferings of Jesus. It is not enough to know that his hands and feet were pierced with thick nails; it’s not comfort to know that he was spat upon and whipped mercilessly. It is the inevitability of joy and resurrection that cause us to find hope in Jesus. His endurance is only inspiring if there is something more than punishment and death.

The virtue we may be lacking is endurance. It’s easier to lose heart and go home than to put our trust in a promise that suffering will one day collapse into joyful abandon.

Horrific labour pains can resolve with beautiful, new life. You may not have the inner resource to push, but there is a guide at your side who reminds you that you are almost there.

[1] Oswald Chambers, Christian Disciplines: Building Strong Character ©1936 by Oswald Chambers Publications Association