Thoughts from a Young Man: Suffering

Jesus suffered in the garden. He died on the cross, yes for our sins, BUT he also suffered because of our sinfulness. He suffered a pain that was not his. The act was not a single moment or a collection of moments as nails pierced his flesh. His suffering was such that we will never suffer. His suffering was a faith breaking suffering. He suffered under the silence of God. He suffered it completely. He bore pain. He cried out longingly, desperately for grace but heaven was seemed closed to his bleating. He suffered so that we could endure the the silence.

Silence of this type would break us. Andrew Peterson poetically says the silence of God

“is enough to drive a man crazy, to break a man’s faith, it’s enough to make a man wonder if he has ever been sane…when he is bowering for comfort and heavens only answer is the silence of God.”

It does drive us crazy. It drives us to question the promise of Grace. As the silence of God, the unanswered prayers, the waiting, the loneliness, goes on and on we question if we have ever heard the voice of God. We know he speaks; others around us tell us about their sweet fellowship but we feel a cold iron curtain robed around us like shell, a prison cell with no widow or door. We begin question whether we have ever come to know God. We often question whether we are God’s chosen sheep at all. Aside from the grace bought by Christ’s suffering, this suffering would break us and tear us apart.

Christ became like us so that in sharing in our suffering as we suffer he would be made perfect and by his death he would put to death, death. The lonely weeping, the prayers in the solitude of sleeping friends, the agony of the Father’s silent turning away, became the grace we need to suffer under silence. Christ suffered an unmerited silence, a coldness, a distance, a separation that would break men. Silence of this type is not a muted voice, it is a blinded eye. This silence is separation from the creator, sustainer, and source of life. It is a separation from the Light of Life. It is a silence of unfathomable depths, it is penetrating, it is consuming, it is hell.

Christ walked through this silence to purchase our help. He suffered such so that we would endure. No matter the weight of the silence there is the promise. The cross is the receipt. The character of God is the guarantee and the Spirit is the promissory note. The silence WILL be broken. The Father will come. The Father is working amidst the silence. The Son suffered so that the silence, a painful weight, would not be a rod of breaking or a stone of crushing.

Whatever you from suffer remember our savor. Remember that he breathed his last breath, he yielded up his spirit by his choice by his will. Remember his words,

“It is finished!”

Christ, then, consciously, “breathed his last breath and yielded up his Spirit.” His death did not end the suffering, it did not remove the cup of reeling from His hand, the cup of the wrath of God ran dry. Our savior suffered completely. The Father’s justice satisfied so that we would be left unbroken by the silence but that the silence would be tool of conforming, a means of developing Christ-like endurance. The silence doesn’t break our faith, it doesn’t uproot faith, it drives the roots of faith deeper into the fertile soil of Christ amidst the the barren wasteland of this life!

Let the silence drive you deeper. Let the waiting conform you. Trust the promise. Trust the Savior. Endure for the sake of the Joy set before you! Endure that you would get Christ. Endure that you would become one of those among the great crowd of witnesses from which we, who enjoy such grace now, will look to when the silence becomes deafening! If you have walked through the valley, encourage your fellow travelers. You may be be that voice they are longing to hear!

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