No one likes to go through pain and suffering. But sometimes pain and suffering is absolutely necessary in order to obtain a desired outcome. Jesus put it this way, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:24-25 NIV)
A farmer might say to himself, “I’m not going to put my seed into the ground! That would destroy it.” Yes, it’s true that putting the seed into the ground will destroy it. But unless the farmer does put it into the ground, he’ll never reap a crop. Not only that, but by attempting to save the seed by not putting it into the ground, he’ll lose it anyway. Over time the seed will lose it’s potency. It will eventually die because it was not used for it’s intended purpose. The only way to preserve the seed is to plant it. Only then can the farmer reap a crop.
In the same way, we can try to avoid pain and trouble by running from the situations God brings into our lives to shape us and prepare us for eternal life. By running, we will not avoid the pain, but we will not reap the benefit. It is only by accepting the trouble and pain that God’s purpose for us in it will be fulfilled.
Jesus has set the example for us. “...Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”” (Matthew 26:36-39 NIV)
Jesus did not want to go through the pain and suffering He faced. He prayed that God would take it from Him. But the significant thing is that Jesus was also willing to go through it if it was God’s will. And because Jesus was willing to accept God’s will, even though it meant enduring suffering, it resulted not only in His being glorified and exalted above all, but also in our salvation. In the book of Hebrews it says, “...we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.” (Hebrews 2:9-10 NIV)
Each week we remember the pain and suffering Jesus endured so we could be saved. The bread represents His broken body which was sacrificed for us. The juice represents His blood that covers our sin. Today, as we eat and drink let’s ask ourselves the question, “Am I willing to accept God’s will for my life, even though it means enduring suffering? Can I look beyond the suffering to the reward? Do I have faith in God’s promises?”