He Drank It All

  • Feb. 2, 2016
  • #8807

Christ’s suffering on the cross reassures us that God does understand our pain and anguish during trials, pain, and affliction. 

He Drank It All

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and I have a confession to make.

I’m not proud of this, and I’m a little reticent to share it, but hey, I’m a sinner in need of cleansing, and so I don’t mind talking about my faults and failures. So what’s my confession? Well, the other week I was in so much pain that I was nauseated. There was no analgesic; no medication I could take that would ease the pain. What’s more, my low blood pressure from my quadriplegia was making me dizzy, seeing spots. My only solace was to pray, and so I did. I knew it would help to focus on the suffering that Jesus went through for me; it always helps to know that he identifies with me in my pain.

But somewhere in the middle of my prayer to the Lord, an odd thought crept into my mind, and I started to wonder: ‘Oh, sure, Jesus physically suffered, but it was just six hours on the cross. Just six hours. But the physical pain I am in is relentless, day after day, year after year. Like, I mean, does he really understand how bad I have it?’ I toyed with that thought for a while, comparing my physical pain to Jesus’ physical pain. But shortly, it became clear that such a thought was driving a wedge between me and the Lord. All it was doing was fostering self-pity and resentment. That is when I shook the thought out of my head. The thought was obviously planted in my head by the devil, no doubt. I knew that because any thought that drives a wedge between me and God, or you and God; any thought that builds resentment against the Lord, has to come from the adversary.

Thankfully, I survived that very difficult day of pain. But many people live with intractable pain day after day. And I hear from them through emails and letters. I’m surprised how many of these hurting friends coddle the same thought. Maybe even you have wondered if Jesus limited his physical pain on the cross; you know, if He used his divine powers to somehow mitigate the full force of spiritual agony. Maybe you ponder that when you are in physical pain; what guarantee do you have that Jesus plumbed much darker depths than the rest of humanity? Well, guess what? We have a guarantee. And when I tell you this, it’ll touch your heart. Mark chapter 15 describes the awful scene of the crucifixion of Christ. Halfway through the chapter, it seems that even some of the people standing at the foot of the cross could not bear the physical agony of Jesus any longer, and verse 23 says “They offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.” That’s a simple verse, but it’s so powerful. You see, in order to offer a sufficient sacrifice, our Savior had to go the whole way. Nothing physical must be held back. And wine mixed with myrrh was a little like a pain-reliever; an ancient analgesic, as it were. Such a thing would have softened his misery. But Jesus would have none of it – it would’ve lessened His complete work on the cross.

So there you have my confession. I will never allow such a damaging thought in my head again; I will never compare my physical suffering with Christ’s physical suffering, or anyone else’s. But if you are going through a time of great pain and affliction, it begs the question, what work does God want to finish in you? What is the complete work that suffering can accomplish in your life? Soften your misery if you are able, if it is reasonable, but remember, even in your times of deepest anguish, you have the comfort of knowing that you have a Savior who’s gone deeper still.

Photo: facelikethesun.wordpress.com

© Joni and Friends


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