For a reminder of what I am doing this month, read this post.
He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.
This post will more than likely show up as occurring on the tenth of April, but I assure you – I didn’t really skip a day, I’m just getting to this very late in the day – past midnight.
When I first saw the verse of the day this morning, I actually worried that I wouldn’t have anything new to say – it seems so many of the verses lately have been focusing on Christ’s sacrifice – and rightfully so, as we approach Easter. However, when re-reading it now, I realize that there is another message in this passage – one about the long-suffering nature of Christ. He was treated so terribly and never complained, He was nailed to a cross and humiliated and those around Him shouted and cursed, and yet the only words He spoke to those nearby were of encouragement (see Luke 23:43, John 19:26,27) and quiet request (John 19:28). How many of us could come close to this nature if put in the same position as Him? How many of us when faced with simple everyday trials, complain to anyone who will listen. I know I do. I’ve been guilty of this very thing in my writing. If we take a page from His book, we can learn how to see the outcome while still in the middle of the storm, and therefore endure quietly through the trials and tribulations set before us. In James, we are told to “consider it an opportunity for joy” when we are faced with trouble (James 1:2, NLT). We may not be able to see the future and know exactly what will come of these times, but we can know that God has the best plan for us and it is a plan for us to prosper and not to come to harm. Particularly when these trials come as a result of our faith, we ought to pray that we will stand strong through them and come out stronger on the other side.
We are also an example to non-believers in our lives, whether they be family members, friends or total strangers who happen to see the fish sticker on the back of our vehicles (no, I don’t have one). If we are ridiculed, questioned, persecuted, we would do best to take these things with grace and have faith that God will see us through.
Dealing with physical pain is obviously not something I do well. I have had a number of illnesses this year and am, quite frankly, sick of being sick. However, when I have been in labour with my precious kids, I knew the pain was worth something. I knew the outcome – a beautiful new baby. The pain I have felt in labour is the worst I’ve ever had, and yet it was the easiest to get through because I could look ahead and see what was coming from it. If we looked on trials as a “labour” of sorts, perhaps we would find it easier to cope with them and move on in them without complaint.
Jesus is the best example we can have of this long-suffering nature, but there are modern martyrs that show us this as well. Years ago, I read the Jesus Freaks book put out by DC Talk, and it was amazing. It is truly eye-opening to see that not only do we have so much history of this kind of faith, but that things like this are still going on in parts of the world where Christianity is not accepted or allowed.
As we enter Good Friday, the anniversary of Christ’s death, let us remember not only what His sacrifice did for us, but how He behaved when He was still on this earth and in the middle of that trial.
This verse of the day comes from Air1.