Thursday, June 12, 2014

Cup of Suffering

Scripture Reading: Mark 14:32-41
“Abba, Father”, he said, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.” (Mark 14:36 NLT)
Everywhere you look today there is some kind of suffering. We see people with cancer, dementia, blindness, deafness, unable to speak, and mental disorders. Bodies walking around with twisted limbs and those with no limbs.
     God has implanted within man an indomitable spirit. Intense suffering has a way of bringing into focus this spirit of courage beyond human capacity. Kyle Maynard, a quadruple amputee, whose arms ended at his elbows and his legs topping at his knees accomplished the feat of climbing the twenty thousand foot Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, on his shortened arms and knees. What an astounding feat! What determination! What courage!
     Jesus understands suffering. In the Garden of Gethsemane he looked into God’s cup of suffering. What he saw was so vile, so repugnant, so agonizing that he fell to the ground in agony praying, “Father, please take this cup of suffering away from me, nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.” What did he see in that cup? All the past, present, and future sins of all mankind that have festered and rotted.
     Have you ever gone on vacation and left old coffee grounds in the filter or failed to put food away into the refrigerator? What hit you as returned and opened the door was an obnoxious smell that threatened to turn your stomach upside down. What Jesus experienced for you and me was even worse. His suffering led to his death on a cross.
     What kind of suffering are you facing today? Is it physical, mental, social, emotional, psychological, or financial? Is it family, church, community, or work related? Do you need someone to come alongside to comfort you? Fancy clichés won’t bring relief. Denial of its existence won’t help either. Ignoring it won’t take it away. You need someone who is willing to stand by your side and say, “I’m here for you.” That, my dear friend, is JESUS.
     When pain and suffering come knocking at your door, reach out and take the hand of Jesus and hang on to him. There is no one I’d rather have at my bedside in a time of crisis than Jesus Christ my Savior and Lord.
Prayer: Dear Lord, you partook of the horrible cup of suffering so that I would not have to face eternity apart from you. I am so grateful for your willingness to pay the price for my redemption.

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