We talk a lot about how hard it is to be a Christian. We talk about our love for God and the sacrifices we make because of our service and devotion to Him. We talk about persecutions and deprivations and insults occurring around the world because of the Christian faith. At times, our burdens are so heavy that we question and plead with God in words like those of the psalmist:
“Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever. Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression?” (Psalm 44:23-24)
But do we talk about how hard it was for Christ to be Christ? How much do we think about His sacrifices and love for us? Can we ever feel love as He did, as if it were nails through flesh, in the way He felt it?
“In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood,” Hebrews 12:4 reminds us.
And in 1 Peter 3:18: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.”
In the book Poems, in an entry titled “Love’s as Warm as Tears,” C.S. Lewis uses poetry to capture the raw emotion, and even shock, of the reality of Christ’s death – and our shared part in it.
Love’s as hard as nails,
Love is nails:
Blunt, thick, hammered through
The medial nerves of One
Who, having made us, knew
The thing He had done,
Seeing (with all that is)
Our cross, and His.
Words like these may make some sense of the sufferings we undergo, and reveal light beyond whatever darkness we may face, as we partake only in a small way in His sufferings.
Of course, in the Bible, we see countless verses about Christ’s suffering and the good it means to us, because that is the story of the gospel.
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that he, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:9)
“For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him to serve you.” (2 Corinthians 13:4)
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:4-7)
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
So, mourn your sorrows indeed, but only because Christ’s were so much greater. And rejoice that He has brought us such goodness that it outweighs anything else we may experience.