Who am I to write about suffering? I am the WORST at it. Complaining has legitimately been my MO as long as I can remember. I have literally and intentionally sought out the negatives in every situation ever since forever because I thought it was a way to fix or improve things. I thought being positive or joyful or rosy was dishonest because this life is hard and it hurts.
But I’ve discovered something…
This life IS hard and it DOES hurt. But there is more.
The crucifixion was painful and there was truly nothing objectively pleasant about it. There was no relief from the pain. And yet, His answer to those who wept for Him was, “Do not weep for me…” (Luke 23:28)
This was because there was purpose in the pain. Purpose gives meaning to suffering. It makes it possible to endure and even take some consolation In knowing what God can do with our surrender.
There us nothing more valuable than sacrifice because it means the purpose for which we offer the offering is greater than what we offer. The greatest thing we have to offer is ourselves…. which means that when we offer ourselves, that we believe that what we offer ourselves for is greater still.
This is why Tertullian so famously stated, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church”.
They found something valuable enough for which to offer themselves. Their sacrifice along with His forms the foundation of our belief for we cannot doubt the love of the one who gives his life.
This is why a Christianity whose focus is “self-care” (ie. Survive at all costs, make sure you take care of yourself enough to “survive” the pain until it passes) is a completely black hole. An invisible vortex that sucks everyone and everything in but from which nothing ever emerges, not even light. Oh, no, we are meant to be the opposite (Matthew 5:14), more like a star that is so on fire with love that is grows until it spends itself completely and ends its life as a supernova, a glorious, uncontainable, and unforgettable explosion of passion and ardor.
It is important here to define self-care – because true self-care is good, beautiful, and absolutely critical to the Christian life, but its counterfeit, which has most of the world duped into a lethargic stupor, is largely responsible for the majority of human decision making in our culture. The Enemy has a way of taking everything that is true and good and beautiful and distorting it just enough to keep everyone hypnotized into believing that nothing has changed while leading everyone the exact opposite direction.
The point is, no one great has ever changed the world or been remembered for their meticulously impressive “self-care routine”, and yet how many are remembered for their sacrifice?
What will be your legacy?