Much of life is spent dealing with loss, of many types and in many forms. How do we deal with them? Our Christian faith invites us to unite our sorrows and sufferings with those of Christ’s, to be the “person crucified with Christ on the other side of his cross,” joining our agony into his and so converting our loss into something of infinite value. Your pain and suffering can be transformed into the greatest prayer in the church’s repertoire of prayers, changed by being joined into the redemptive suffering of Jesus Christ. Never let that opportunity go to waste.
The big challenge for us all is to unite our emotional, psychological, and spiritual sufferings with Christ’s own emotional and spiritual suffering. We don’t often consider that aspect of his suffering, but it’s true. How else can we explain Christ’s sense of total loss when he cried out: “My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?” True, his body was wracked in pain, but that cry came from his soul, a soul held in the crushing grip of abandonment. Our culture gives us a big lie, telling us that we are “entitled” to complete happiness, that every pain has a remedial pill, and that God is “unfair” for allowing suffering to happen to anyone. Jesus, on the other hand, bids us to enter with him into evil’s maw and pass through it from Good Friday into Easter Sunday. This world’s “fight or flight” battle cry just doesn’t work. In the end it causes futility. Acceptance of loss and joining our pain and suffering into Christ’s is transformative. Our culture’s false expectation of this world’s “happiness” leads only to frustration, anger, self-destructive behaviors, and eventually rejection of God. Isn’t that what hell really is? Jesus descended there to bring us out and takes us back home to our Father in heaven. Here at FAITH, we have often shared stories of people who experience suffering and enter into it Christ, sharing his redemptive suffering. We will continue to do so. Christ on his cross isn’t just an event that happened 2,000 years ago – it is happening all of the time. That joins us all together in his love, compassion, and victory.