Thoughts on the King
By Maria Fontaine
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One question that could be asked regarding God’s gift of salvation is why God, who is all-powerful, had to send His beloved Son to earth to die for us in the greatest sacrifice of all time. Couldn’t He have just forgiven us by snapping His fingers and saying, “It is done”? Why didn’t He? Because He wanted us to understand what His limitless love is like and how far that love would go for us. Jesus was willing to help us learn what love is through giving His all for us.
How could we ever learn to understand God’s Spirit of Love if we had not seen Jesus’ example of suffering and sacrifice, trusting His Father in all things? In the same way, He asks us to walk even as He walked by bravely facing the things that come into our lives, trusting Him to bring us through them.
The greatest example we can set is of faith, even in adverse circumstances, which can motivate others to want to do the same. People can read about Jesus’ example in the Bible and in other books that describe how Christians have manifested their faith and trust in the past, but when they can see His children, with all the similar trials that they themselves face, demonstrating how faith can be applied today, it helps them to understand even better and to want this faith, too.
He asks us to be the example of trust in some things that may seem very traumatic to us, but He has promised to be with us and keep us in all our ways and not give us anything more than we can bear. He promises to always make a way through even the worst of times.
Jesus understands our trials. He endured pain, humiliation, suspicion, criticism, anger, opposition, jealousy, contempt, and lies. He faced weariness, sleeplessness, hunger, thirst, cold, and sickness. He was despised, rejected, insulted, betrayed, deserted, ostracized, and finally tortured and put to death.
He suffered the entire range of what a human being could go through. He taught us by His example and instruction how to face struggles and even find joy in the midst of troubles. He gave us a way to find peace in all things and to overcome. He chose to give and give and give again until there was nothing left but the frail thread of life itself, and then He gave even that, not for glory or praise, but for the joy of offering us the love that He alone could give us. He told us,
As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.—John 20:21
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.—John 13:34
Jesus has already paid the ultimate price for our salvation. Now He gives us the strength, through His Holy Spirit, to be an example of His love to others. In love, He prepares us for the tasks that are set before us. The learning process of life often tests our mettle and teaches us through experiences that are difficult, in order to bless us with the understanding, conviction, and compassion that we need in order to help others. And He promises to make every sacrifice worth it.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.—Romans 8:18
For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.—2 Corinthians 1:5
Listen to these thoughts below from some who have suffered greatly.
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I have to ask myself how I can possibly expect to know Jesus as he would want to be known if my life remains unscathed by trouble and grief. How can I hope to grasp anything of God’s heart for this broken planet if I never weep because its brokenness touches me and breaks my heart? How can I reflect his image if I never share in his sufferings?—Carolyn Custis James
Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world. So long as you can sweeten another’s pain, life is not in vain.—Helen Keller
One of the most interesting realities of suffering is that our personal pain also speaks to those around us. The world gravitates to the cancer patient who has hope and peace. Bystanders are astounded over the parents who cling to the Good Father as they bury their own child. My friends are taken aback when I can shrug off hateful words of my disability [of not having arms] and turn my focus to what God says about me.—Daniel Ritchie
When you become consumed by God’s call on your life, everything will take on new meaning and significance. You will begin to see every facet of your life—including your pain—as a means through which God can work to bring others to Himself.—Charles Stanley
“In spite of sorrow, loss, and pain, our course be onward still; We sow on Burma’s barren plain, We reap on Zion’s hill.” If I had not felt certain that every additional trial was ordered by infinite love and mercy, I could not have survived my accumulated sufferings.—Adoniram Judson
I used to think that being born without arms was the most horrible thing that could happen to a person. In Christ, he has helped me say that the worst and most painful thing that has ever happened to me is also the best thing that has ever happened to me.—Daniel Ritchie
A Christian is someone who shares the sufferings of God in the world.—Dietrich Bonhoeffer
If we do anything to further the kingdom of God, we may expect to find what Christ found on that road—abuse, indifference, injustice, misunderstanding, trouble of some kind. Take it. Why not? To that you were called. (See 1 Peter 2:21.)—Elisabeth Elliot
Our pain gives us a platform. The question becomes then, what am I saying to the world in the midst of my pain? Do I let my faith become the product of my circumstances or is God still good even if my circumstances are not? The scope of His character and grace do not change when suffering comes. As I trust God, even in my heartache, I let my life speak of a hope that extends well beyond what we can see or touch.
We have the difficult call of 1 Peter 1:6–7, where we are commanded to rejoice when we are grieved by various trials. Why are we rejoicing? “So that the tested genuineness of your faith ... may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Our willingness to suffer joyfully for the glory of God carries a testimony that none of us could ever express. We point to a glorious God who offers treasure that neither moth nor rust can destroy (Matthew 6:19–20).—Daniel Ritchie
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:3–6, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies.” God doesn’t just let us experience pain because it develops us. God allows His children to feel pain because He can use it for a purpose. He allowed Joseph to spend over 13 years in slavery and prison so he could save a nation and his people. He allowed the early church to be persecuted so the gospel would be spread outside Jerusalem. He allowed Jesus to take the cup and suffer for our salvation.—Steven Furtick
When Christians suffer, they, like Paul, can consequently take courage from the fact that their lives will testify to others the power of the Resurrection, either through God’s act of deliverance or, even more profoundly, through the manifestation of their endurance. In either case we are summoned to trust God in the midst of our afflictions in the confidence that God will ultimately deliver us. By so doing, God’s power will be manifest in our weakness.—Scott Hafemann
God comforts us so that we can comfort others. God grants us mercy so that we can be merciful to others. God stands wholeheartedly with us in our suffering so that we can stand wholeheartedly with others who are suffering. God never leaves us alone in our suffering so that we won’t leave others alone in theirs.—Author unknown
It’s beautiful when comfort spreads in this way, and it should happen often in the body of Christ. It is sweet to see people redeem their suffering by taking their eyes off of themselves and turning them toward God to find strength, and then toward others to offer the comfort that God provided them.—Dave Zuleger
We want to avoid suffering, death, sin, ashes. But we live in a world crushed and broken and torn, a world God Himself visited to redeem. We receive His poured-out life, and, being allowed the high privilege of suffering with Him, may then pour ourselves out for others.—Elisabeth Elliot
Christ comforts us so that we might share his comfort with a hurting world. Our pain produces a ministry of comfort that we can walk in. His grace to us is meant to be displayed and not hidden by our silence. As our pain shouts to a hurting world, may our lives always sing of the fact that God is glorious even when our circumstances are not.—Daniel Ritchie
When those who are watching see you claiming My promises, claiming the victories, claiming that I will do the work and somehow bring you through in spite of seeming failures and defeats, their faith is strengthened. When they see you fall and struggle, and you still fight on, despite not seeing the proof, knowing that I will fulfill My part, their faith is strengthened to trust Me when things go wrong for them.—Jesus
God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.—2 Corinthians 1:3–4
Originally published May 2020. Republished on Anchor April 2023.
Read by Carol Andrews. Music by Michael Dooley.