Good Friday

Good Friday...the trial, crucifixion, death, and burial of Jesus...such pain, such injustice, such suffering... My sensitivity to unfairness, pain, and suffering fight against the realities of this night each time I read, hear, or think of them. Why did Jesus have to suffer so?! Why did He have to walk through so much injustice and die so gruesomely? Why didn't the disciples wake up and pay attention in the garden, so they could protect Jesus? Why didn't Pilate listen to his gut AND his wife for the love?! Why didn't Jesus defend Himself, or simply stop them? Didn't they see that none of this made sense?! Yet...I now know it did and He knew even then.

During my chaplaincy internship at seminary, a small group of fellow interns and myself would meet for five hour intensive "counseling" sessions once a week with our counseling supervisor. These sessions were difficult as we processed through the suffering of many of our internship clients/patients, but also dug into our own suffering. One evening, I shared how I prayed for the Lord to bring my patient peace and comfort through their pain. My supervisor then made the observation that I frequently pray this for my patients. I was confused by her tone that implied this was a bad thing... She then challenged me with this, "Of course you want for them to have peace and comfort in and from their pain, but is that about you or them? We must want God's best for them, not ourselves, which may not be to save them from feeling the pain of suffering. You must surrender your need to save them from the very pain that may ultimately heal them." I remember crying as I drove home as I wrestled with this reality within myself, realizing that not only do I try to block others from their pain, but I also work hard to block myself from the emotions of my own pain.

Jesus walked through great emotional, physical, and spiritual pain as He became the ultimate and final living sacrifice for our sins. He endured false accusations and injustice without a word of defense. ...And He would do it again and again and again...for me and for you.

What if one single person throughout the course of the events of His arrest, trial, and death had stopped the crucifixion? Could God have chosen a less painful route? Of course He could have, but He didn't. God had established and set this night into motion since the beginning of time. The prophecies of His crucifixion and resurrection have served as proof throughout time that He is who He says He is, and that He did what He said He did.

I don't even want to think about the "what ifs" of Him not making this sacrifice for us. The greater purpose of His suffering is beyond my comprehension. And in regards to you and I, the greater purpose of our pain and suffering will never compare to His, but we can trust that in His infinite wisdom, love, compassion, justice, and mercy, He does have a greater purpose beyond what we can think or imagine. He has not forgotten you. He is working in and through your suffering to produce more of Himself in you. Trust Him. Walk through your pain alongside Him and allow Him to carry you. Ask yourself, as I repeatedly do, am I fighting against the pain that God ultimately wants to demonstrate His power of healing through? As He demonstrated on the cross, you are so loved. Thank you Jesus.

-Amy Fair

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