Over the past two weeks we have taken up the issue of suffering in the life of the Christian. After preaching on lament this past Sunday, I was thinking further on my drive home and here are the Scriptures I was meditating on.
First, as I said during the sermon, Jesus lamented his suffering, even in light of hope, while he prayed in Gethsemane. He knew the resurrection would follow the crucifixion (Mk. 10:33-34), yet he was sorrowful.
“And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, My soul is very sorrowful, even to death…going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.” -Mark 14:33-35
Then, my thoughts were drawn to Hebrews 12 where we are told that Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before him.
“…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” -Hebrews 12:1b-2
Finally, my mind rested on the Apostle Paul’s statement; “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Cor. 6:10). There will be suffering in the life of the believer and it is right to respond in lament and sorrow. However, the sorrow we experience is against the greater backdrop of Gospel joy.
“…and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” -Romans 8:17-18