Hope in the Midst of Suffering

I recently got involved with a youth ministry learning community/training group. I?m loving it! The driving force behind the material we are covering is that Jesus not only gives us a model for living our lives, but also a model for doing ministry. So, if we want to know how to improve our ministries, we need to study the life of Christ.

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In one of my assignments, they asked us to consider how Christ suffered for us. I immediately thought of the cross, as I?m sure most Christians do. However, the point of the lesson was to broaden our understanding of the life of Christ. We know very little about his childhood, but there are some passages that give us some insight. One verse that really stuck with me is

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Isaiah 53:3a “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering…”

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Jesus was a man of sorrows. He was familiar with suffering. In other words, the cross wasn?t his first experience with suffering. I don?t know about you, but that?s huge for me! I?ve always really connected with

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Hebrews 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.”

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Knowing the humanity of Christ is powerful. He understands us…he can relate to what we?re going through. But for some reason, I?ve always put suffering into a different category…as if it wasn?t part of the life of Christ (apart from the cross of course). Suffering is a product of living in a fallen world. John 1 teaches us that Christ left heaven and took up residence with us on earth. Christ entered our fallen world and as a result experienced life just as we do, suffering included. Perhaps we could “rewrite” Hebrews 4:15 to say something like “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our suffering, but we have one who has been subjected to suffering just as we have-yet all his suffering was undeserved.”

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It?s powerful for me to understand that my savior has walked in my shoes. He “gets” what life is like for me and offers me hope. If you are in a place of suffering, I hope that you can connect with the savior who is acquainted with your sorrow.

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Grace,
?Chris

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