I’m Aware: The Truth About Jesus, Pain, and Suffering

“For God so loved the world that HE gave HIS one and only begotten son that whosoever believes in HIM will not die, but will have life everlasting.” John 3:16

King Jesus, our savior, how we love thee! Oh, what a wonderful child! Let us celebrate you by giving gifts to one another in your honor. We lift you up. Rejoice, it’s Christmas time!

We as a society are fascinated with the hero’s story. You know the one about how devastation and destruction reigns supreme among us until one day a hero comes to save us all. For this act of valor, we give said hero, Jesus, Martin, Lincoln, Rosa, and Harriet, whomever, we give them all the glory and honor forever! Thank you Jesus.

This is a great storyline from the perspective of the getter, us. We get to sit back and watch as someone else comes to clean up our mess. But what about the hero? What do they get for their suffering and sacrifice? What is their reason for saving us?

Are we so amazing that someone should be honored to lift us up? If this is the case, why do we fail to lift one another and ourselves up? Why do we wait for a savior?

Jesus is a very interesting being. I love Jesus, because I know HIM personally. I know HIM not because I believe in HIM or praise HIM, but because I follow HIM and his teachings. It is because of Jesus that I am who I am today. I am a woman unafraid and unashamed to live my life, endure my struggles, conquer them, and tell my truth for the purpose of serving others.

See I believe that more importantly than dying for our sins, which is like paying off ones credit card debt. Jesus came to teach us how to live a life of purpose and service to God and to each other. Jesus came to not just get us out of debt, but to teach us how to stay out of debt.

DEEP!

This brings me to my favorite topic. Pain and Suffering. What is the purpose of pain and suffering?

“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Isaiah 53: 3 – 5

Have you ever read this description of Jesus, the wonderful child? Do you know what Jesus actually endured for our salvation? Do you have an understanding of what it means to present your self as a living sacrifice for the glory of The Kingdom of God? Do you know the purpose of pain? Do you know how wounds heal?

Pain is our greatest teacher. When we experience pain it is because we are in need of healing. Some way some how we have been wounded in our ability to live well and function properly, so pain is our body’s sign to course correct our being. When we endure or suffer a challenge, our purpose is to overcome the challenge and teach others how to do so. Jesus came to teach us how to serve one another in our pursuit to live as a child of God.

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”

John 14:12

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

The savior that we all love so much had to suffer, bleed out, and die for our enlightenment to live better. Why don’t we emphasis this part of the story? Better yet, why don’t we offer up to one another our own pain and suffering to learn from?

One of my biggest pet peeves is an elder or authority figure that tries to teach without context. I am not a fan of someone telling me what to do without telling me why or how it matters. Jesus not only told us what a life in service of others looked like, but HE showed us as well. He served us with HIS life, the ultimate sacrifice.

We live in a consumer based society. Every one is obsessed with getting more and more stuff. Every year Americans spend about $700b in retail sales for the Christmas holiday. But what is the greatest gift that we could ever give someone? I believe that if we showed people how to live better and to be motivated by their suffering we would need less and less stuff to enjoy life.

How do we gift this gift? We show them by example. We teach by sharing our truths, the good, the bad, and the in between for others to fully understand, get wisdom, and build upon our lessons learned to better us all. This is why I will never stop sharing my story with the world. Too many people are suffering for me to withhold my truth of how I got over.

This is what Jesus did. God became flesh to live a life in front of us so that we could follow HIS lead. HE served us. Then HE said that we would do greater works than HE. Are we doing that? Are we welcoming our challenges with open arms knowing that we are designed to survive/ rise above them to inspire others to do the same?

Are we leading lives of service to others or are we numbing our pain and ignoring the root causes of our suffering in order to commercialize our success? Did you know that Americans consume 80 percent of the world’s supply of painkillers — more than 110 tons of pure, addictive opiates every year?

In 2014, the CDC found that doctors wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers in a single year, which is enough for every U.S. adult to have a bottle of pills.

If we truly desire to live the abundant life Jesus promised us, we have to be willing to follow HIS lead, understand the root causes of our suffering, and serve others with our wisdom.

We cannot romanticize what it means to achieve greatness and live well. We must tell the truth about the faith, sacrifice, and sweat equity required to live a life worth meaning.

With each advancement in society, a valley of unknowns is traveled where mistakes are made. It behooves us to be transparent about those mistakes, so that no one else has to suffer them again. Every one of us has a unique offering to the world with unique challenges.

This year lets give the gift that keeps on giving, the truth about who we are and what we have experienced as followers of Christ. Our reward is unconditional love, the act of being supportive of each other through good and bad.

I have made many mistakes in my life, but it could always be much worse. I know better because of many men and women who lived and suffered boldly before me and offered not just their accomplishments but their heartache and pain as a platform for me to stand on. Because of this great cloud of witnesses of faith, I know how to run my race a little better than before.

This is the real Christmas miracle witnessing to the truth about the selflessness of Jesus the Christ. Christ is not Jesus’ last name, but it is a title that references how HE suffered for you and me. Now how will you honor this legacy?

Merry Christmas

CJM