A God with us in suffering
By Father Ed Dougherty, M.M.
Joshua Rogers is a writer and attorney who lives in Washington, D.C., and he has a column that appears on Fox News online. His writing tends to be insightful, and he often has a way of cutting right to the heart of the things that matter most in life. One of his recent columns struck me in this way, and I wanted to pass along some of the insights he shared.
Rogers began by describing people he knows who are trapped in difficult situations. One has a dead-end job with no prospects for finding something better. Another suffers from chronic illness for which there is no cure. Still others find themselves alone, hoping for marriage but unable to find the right person.
Then Rogers spoke about his own situation and a day not too long ago when he asked God to bring the suffering in his own life to an end. “What happened next stunned me,” he writes, because he was soon gripped by a profound realization. At first he told himself, “This is my story… this is my cross to bear and I need to live my story without complaining.” Then he realized this wasn’t the right way to look at it, and the thought hit him, “This isn’t your story of suffering, this is Christ’s story of suffering.”
In that moment, Rogers gained a deeper perspective on the role Christ plays in each of our lives. He writes, “Jesus didn't stop suffering on the Cross. He continues to suffer with His children because he literally lives inside of our bodies (Colossians 1:27). He goes through the very circumstances we are experiencing every day. This is his story of the suffering that came after he was resurrected.”
This is truly a realization that should change our lives. It’s not just that Christ has invited us to unite our suffering to his perfect offering to God on the Cross, it’s that he has actually chosen to join each and every one of us in our daily pain and struggles. What an amazing thing to realize about Jesus! Out of all the things he could have chosen in His infinite power as the Son of God, he chose to join us in our suffering, to become a part of it, and to suffer alongside us, within us, enduring all of the pain and limitations we experience in this world. That is an amazing God and the only figure in history who will ever be worthy of the title “Savior.”
For those who know this and have already contemplated it, it’s worth considering how profound a realization this is for someone when they discover it for the first time. It should change our lives, because no longer can we look upon our suffering as a mere obstacle or burden, which it often is. But it’s also the deepest way we have to connect with God. And no longer can we be resentful of an all-powerful God who we may feel merely allows us to suffer, because He doesn’t. He’s joined us in the deepest way in our suffering and is enduring with us.
Rogers concludes, “Jesus is the valiant protagonist, ‘Christ in (us), the hope of glory’ (Colossians 1:27). What a Savior – one who didn’t just leave us behind to make it on our own. He walks through this life with us and when this chapter is over, He will usher us into the unimaginable reality of heaven.”
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Father Ed Dougherty, M.M., is a member of The Christophers’ board of directors.[[In-content Ad]]