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by Dave Bruskas
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by Mark Driscoll
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Wed Dec 11, 2013
by Adam Ramsey
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Tue Dec 10, 2013
by Elyse Fitzpatrick
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Mon Dec 09, 2013
by Cam Huxford IV
The Cry of Jesus
Understanding the cry of Jesus Christ on the cross gives us two terrific resources for suffering. If you’re in trouble right now, if you’re in pain right now, take hold of these.
You Can Make It without Answers
The first is the cry of Jesus on the cross (Psalm 22) gives us the greatest possible companion for our suffering. Do you know the thing you mainly need in suffering is not answers? You can make it without answers.
What do I mean by that? I mean that when you suffer, you have questions. You say, “Why? Why is this happening to me? Why does this have to happen? Why at this time?” I mean, when you suffer, you have lots of questions. But, you know, you can make it without questions. But you can’t make it out, you can’t make it, without companionship.
You Can’t Make It Alone
You can’t make it if you have to suffer alone. You can’t make it without friendship. You can’t make it without companionship. And Christianity is the only religion on the face of the earth that says God is your companion in suffering, that God has suffered, that God does suffer.
David Watson, who was a Christian leader some years ago, was dying of cancer when he wrote this. He says:
Someone once said to me, “There cannot be a God of love, because if there was and he looked upon the world, his heart would break.” But the gospel points to the cross and says, “It did break.” Someone once said to me, “It’s God who made the world, it’s he who should bear the load.” The gospel points to the cross and says, “He did bear the load.” God weeps with those who weep. He feels our pain and enters into our sorrows with his compassionate love.
The Christian’s Suffering Has a Future
A man dying of cancer.
So the first thing you get is the greatest possible companion in suffering. But the second thing you get is the greatest possible future. This cry gives us the greatest possible future for our suffering. The worst thing about being in darkness is to think that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. But when Jesus Christ cried out in the midst of his darkness, there was deliverance. The suffering of Jesus Christ means that our suffering has a future.
What do I mean by that? Well, Michael Green wrote this. He says:
Jesus’ cry on the cross means, for Christians, there is a future for suffering. Suffering, ultimately, is not blind, wanton, and senseless. It has a purpose. Look what Jesus’ suffering produced. Look what benefits flowed from the awesome suffering gladly endured. It is the same with Jesus’ followers, mystery though it is. Much flows from it when it is gladly endured. Character is formed by it. Art and creativity is stimulated by it. Compassion and care is evoked by it. Royalty comes from it. Jesus was regal on the cross in his suffering. And in the end, the greatest mystery of all, 2 Corinthians 4:17 reads, “For this light momentary affliction [which is only for a moment] is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”
When Suffering Is Redemptive
This is a simple fact, that there’s a future to your suffering. If you’re suffering, you don’t just stay in suffering. If you embrace Jesus Christ, his substitutionary dynamic and paradigm comes into your own life. One of the things I’ve noticed, for example, over the years (my wife and I were talking about this recently) is when you’re in the midst of pain, you always say, “Oh, my gosh!” I mean, you never want it back, and you don’t understand it, and it seems like it’s too much to bear. But whatever you lose shows up again somewhere else in a different way, and it’s redemptive.
You put Jesus in the center of your life, and your suffering will have a future, its redemption.
I’m sorry for being self-referential, but everything I’ve ever suffered personally, everything I’ve ever lost, has shown up again in my preaching and pastoring. It has made me a vastly better preacher and pastor than I ever would’ve been if I’d had all the easy places where I’d had hard places. There’s something about Jesus. You put him in the center of your life, and then as his suffering has a future, its redemption, your suffering will have a future, its redemption. Things will flow from it. I can personally vouch for it.
Adapted transcript from the sermon “The Doctrine of Salvation,” provided by Logos.
Our friends at Logos Bible Software have teamed up with Dr. Timothy Keller to publish 22 years of his sermons in Logos’ advanced format. This edition lets you search over 1,200 of Dr. Keller’s sermons by topic or passage on your Mac, PC, and mobile devices—so you can easily apply Dr. Keller’s insight to your own sermons, lessons, and personal life. You can pre-order your copy of the Timothy Keller Sermon Archive from Logos today!