“What did I do to deserve this?”
It isn’t uncommon to hear that question asked when someone is going through a difficult time in their life.
“What did I do wrong? Why is God so upset with me? Is He punishing me for something?”
When we talk like this, it reveals that the reason we are a Christian is for ourselves. We are really saying, “God, I went to church. I gave my offering. I served. I deserve good health, not to be sick. I deserve to get the job I’ve always wanted. I deserve to have a family where everyone gets along. I deserve a boss who fully appreciates me.”
“God, I’m a Christian… for me, not You.”
Can you hear Jesus talking this way?
“God, I’ve been on this earth. I’ve done everything you have ever asked. I’ve done it perfectly, just like you wanted. I healed the sick. I shared your message. I went where you wanted me to go. So, don’t you think the cross is a little much? I don’t deserve the cross.”
Jesus would be correct. He didn’t deserve the cross, and yet, He showed us His love in this way.
Paul writing to Peter says this about suffering:
Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want. (1 Peter 4:1-2, The Message)
You, yes you, were made to love exactly like Jesus. Pain and suffering do not have to define you. Pain and suffering do not have to keep us from loving. As we are Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, our pains and sufferings can help us learn to love as Jesus loves.
Blessings, Pastor Matt