Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Maybe I Just Need to Pray More...

Have you ever heard that, if you're a good Christian, you'll have an easy life?  If you were to pray more, attend services more often, tithe the right amount, your life would be without any suffering?  I know that I have heard this message far too often, and, if you've also heard this message, forget it.

I don't know where this message came from.  Unfortunately, suffering is a part of life.  Being "better" Christians won't save us from suffering.  In fact, being a better Christian means, sometimes, we must face our hardships and not run away from them.  "I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting." -Isaiah 50:6.  "But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also." -Matthew 5:39

There is no time better than Holy Week to see the truth of this.  This week, we focus on the suffering that Christ endured on our behalf.  He was beaten, mocked and killed.  Our hope lies in our knowledge that neither suffering nor death is the end of the story.  When we face hardships in our lives, we can take comfort in knowing that Jesus suffers with us and is continually able to raise us to new life in him.  "Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart." -Hebrews 12:3.  This Holy Week, acknowledge the hardships of your life and allow the knowledge of the glory to come carry you through them.

Collect for Wednesday in Holy Week
Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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