Monday, March 10, 2014

Matthew 26:39 -- On the Other Side of Suffering

"And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."
Matthew 26:39

This is Christ in Gethsemane, asking God if it is possible to avoid his suffering.  He knew what the rest of the evening would bring.  He knew what he was facing in fulfilling the atonement, and he knew that soon he would be betrayed and sentenced and eventually put to death... and we see that he as an individual didn't really want to go through with it.  However, as he prays he knows it is still what God wants, and what needs to happen.  Despite his own preference to avoid that much suffering, he defers to the Father, and fulfils his Earthly mission.
I think that we often feel similarly.  We all face things that are hard for us individually to suffer.  Maybe not always physically, but emotionally, spiritually... we face similar choices.  Pain is part of life, and as we go through and make righteous choices, we often are choosing pain as part of the process.  It's not always easy to do as God asks.  Some of the lessons in life are so painful that zero percent of us want to face them.  But to learn, we have to stop running away and trying to avoid, and find a way through that pain and those tough choices.  We have to value God's will above our own and accept that he knows what he is doing as he asks us to go through pain in order to learn.
The cool thing about suffering, if it can be said to be cool at all, is that on the other side of it is more happiness than we would be able to experience or understand without it.  We will have more compassion, more empathy, and more understanding.  We'll be better people, and although we might never look back on the suffering with gratitude, we will be thankful for the things we learned because of it.  God knows us better than we know ourselves, and just as he asked Christ to suffer for all of us, he asks us to endure pain for good reason.  He knows what is on the other side.  Today, let's do the hard things that he asks, even when they involve pain.  The pain is never fun, but on the other side of it is where we need to be... the continuation of our path to happiness, and love, and everything good.  Let's accept it, and get through it, and learn from it.

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