Gracious Father, we certainly know that we are not immune to the problems of life. We even admit that sometimes they blind us and we do not see You and Your love. Be with us now as we study Your Word. Send us Your Holy Spirit to open our eyes so that we who live under the cross might see things differently than the world does. Help us more and more to see what is hidden, to see
You and Your love at work in all things, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The only thing that allows Christians to see what otherwise cannot be seen
in difficult situations is our God-given faith. Living life under the cross is
living a life of faith in what God accomplished on the cross of His Son
and in the promises that find their in Him.
Looking at the cross of Jesus others might see a battered and beaten man,
blood and pain, and a disgusting and bitterly shameful way to die. But the Christian sees things differently. We see God's unconditional love. We see God's Son, more than a mere man. We see new life in Him. We see that
we were loved even as sinners. We see the all-sufficient
sacrifice paying the price for our sins.
Here we see that through suffering, God sometimes [disciplines] us.
God disciplines - trains disciples - through suffering. He does not do this
because we are bad. He does it because we are loved. The following
three verses show some of the things we are being trained for.
Here we see that through suffering God can train us for living life now.
Here we see that through suffering God can train us for [eternal life].
Above all else, God wants us to "share in His holiness." God wants us with Him in heaven someday! That's the bottom line of all that He allows
and works in our lives.
2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Here we see that through suffering God can train us to [comfort others].
The comfort we receive from God in our personal suffering becomes
comfort we can share with others.
Because Christians can see the above through eyes of faith, it can make a difference in how we live our lives in the face of suffering. It is not our circumstances, but God's promises that we focus upon
Tells us about the three ways of living life under the cross
"Joyful in Hope"
Christian joy, is tied to the certain hope that God's love gives worth and value to human life whether or not it has quality in the eyes of the world. We have hope in the certainty that as long as God gives life, God gives life purpose and meaning. Christian joy is tied to the presence of his hope
and not to the absence of pain and suffering.
"Patient in Affliction"
The promise is that God is at work in our suffering.
Jesus said, "In the world you will have affliction" (John 16:33). Sin sees to that. But Jesus had more to say. "Take heart! I have overcome the world." The afflictions Christians face become tools in God's hands of love. Instead
of seeing people as burdens, we can help carry their burdens. Compassion
is suffering with people, caring for them, and allowing God to do His work. The God whose mighty power is seen again and again in the pages of Scripture, can certainly accomplish His will even in the most
desperate of human conditions.
"Faithful in Prayer"
Sometimes being faithful in prayer is difficult as we live our life.
Even when we do not know what we ought to pray, God's Spirit intercedes on our behalf. He makes our request known to God. It is always comforting when someone says, "I am praying for you." How much
more comforting to know that the Holy Spirit is praying for us!
Thank You, Heavenly Father, for giving us eyes of faith to see things differently as people who live under the cross. May our different view of life enable us to live life differently. Help us to be "joyful in hope," "patient in affliction," and "faithful in prayer." Use us, who by Your grace see things differently, to make a difference in this world. Help us proclaim in love the truth that all human life is a precious gift from You. Help us to act in love as we reach out and seek to carry one another's burdens. Restore to Your people and to our nation respect for the dignity and value of life.
We who live under the cross, pray in the name of the One who
was crucified upon it and who rose again, Jesus Christ.
More excerpts from this great reading
may be found at this web site
"Jesus is There"
Performed by Karen Wheaton
He suffered so that we may live