One Sunday morning, a friend took me aside. With tears in her tired eyes she said, “I’ve done everything God asked me to do. I prayed, fasted, went to the altar. I came to church every Sunday. And I feel like He’s let me down.”
My heart broke for her. Not only had the situation devastated her family, but she thought all her good works made her worthy to escape life’s sufferings.
Have you ever felt that way? As if you held up your end of the bargain, but God reneged on His?
The fact is that we all experience suffering, not just the disobedient sinners. Look through the Scriptures and you’ll find a long list of saints who suffered seemingly undeservedly.
Consider the mother of Jesus. When Gabrielle told Mary she would birth God’s son, he called her “favored of God.” Elizabeth prophesied, calling Mary “blessed among women.” But there was another prophecy by Simeon at the baby’s dedication: “A sword will pierce through your own soul” (Luke 2:35).
Wait, that’s not fair! Mary was chosen by God and highly favored. She was meek and mild, followed the laws of Moses. She was special!
But at Calvary when Jesus was beaten and mocked by Romans and despised by many Jews, Mary was there to watch every agonizing step. It was an honor to be the mother of the Messiah, but it came at a big sacrifice. Her heart was certainly pierced by the agony of watching her beloved child suffer such a horrific death.
It was a difficult task, but one that ends in praise—Mary now fellowships with the saints, enjoying her crowns of everlasting life in the presence of the one she raised and the one who raised her from death.
Easter is a reminder that our present suffering cannot be compared to the glory that is to come (Romans 8:18). Those three days were the worst days of Mary’s life … and the best days in the history of all mankind!
Discuss: How might your sufferings be used for good in your life or the lives of others?