With all the happenings in our daily lives, there is always that instance when we get discouraged and frustrated because of all the challenges that come our way. We face failures, rejections, shortcomings, that sometimes we question God’s love for us. “If God cares for us and loves us, then how come we experience sufferings?” This is a common question we ask ourselves. Amidst the favors and countless blessings from God, we get to focus on the misfortunes in life.
We usually forget God’s promises for us when we encounter different difficulties in life. We complain, we lose hope – sometimes we even curse God rather than pray for guidance and ask for His mercy and help. God in Christ has promised to take care of us. He has shown us, through all these years, and from the Holy Scriptures we read and hear of, that God has always delivered those who have trusted His promises. But we choose to be impatient and to distrust His Word. We want things our way. Our sinful nature convinces us to doubt God’s goodness and love, and this has hurt our relationship with Him.
We complain so much that we forget about the greatest sacrifice He has done for our sake – the sacrifice of Christ to save us from the harrowing grip of Satan and eternal death. Yes, Jesus Christ, true God and true man, also suffered so that we may enjoy our second chance in life. He suffered for our sake, to redeem us, because we chose to live a life away from God’s grace and goodness.
We murmur every time we fail at an examination in school or when we fail to get that promotion that we have been hoping for. We get mad at God for not giving us that new dress we saw on the internet or that new model of cell phone. We turn our back from God every time we do not get what we expect. But God showed us otherwise. When we turn our back away from Him, when we sin, He makes sure that we do not fall away from His grace. Through His Word, the Law and the Gospel, the Holy Spirit convicts us our sins and leads us to repentance and to trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins. Through His Word, the Holy Spirit enlightens us to understand and trust that God did this by sending His only begotten Son to reconcile us to Himself and bring us back into the light for He Himself is the Light.
This Holy Week, God wants us to remember that He is looking after our welfare – He reminds us that he sees our sufferings and reminds us that He has already taken care of everything. If there is a message we should look into this Holy Week, it is that Christ suffered so much for our sake and that His suffering, from His conception, birth until His death, is an act of love. We complain about the smallest of things that we forget that Jesus Christ never complained when God sent Him to die on our behalf, even though He could have declined His mission here on earth.
Christ knew that if He did not come to our rescue, we would have to suffer the wrath of death brought about by our separation from God the Father because of sin. Because Christ is also true man, He knows how it is to suffer, to get hurt, to feel pain. This is why His death on the cross was an act of compassion because He does not want us to feel helpless and suffer further because of our bondage to sin. He wanted to break us out of bondage and be free from the power of sin, Satan and death. That bondage from the power of sin, Satan and death is now eternally defeated and powerless because of the resurrection of Jesus. As the Scriptures say: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)
This Holy Week, let us ponder on the sufferings of Christ. Before we complain that things are not going our way and feel that God has forgotten us, let us look at the cross and be reminded of the greatest suffering Jesus has done for our sake. The cross reflects the great love of God for you and me.
A Devotional by Rev. Antonio del Rio Reyes, LCP President