We all like to think we have strong character and that our relationships with those in our family and church fellowship are substantive and loving. But I believe that it is in the fiery trials of life and how we respond to them which really determine the quality of our character and relationships.
Are You A Lightweight Or A Heavyweight?
When we are going through physical illness, emotional strain or financial duress, it takes a lot of grace and fortitude to think of others. It is easy for a married couple to turn on one another when they experience a severe test in life. I have heard more than a few examples where a husband and wife have divorced after experiencing the tragic loss of a child.
But I have also heard of many examples of where a trial has brought a husband and wife closer together. One of the great things I appreciate of being married to Colleen is that we have faced many challenges together as a couple, and it has matured and deepened our love for one another. It is a beautiful thing when you actually become one in heart and spirit without losing your sense of individuality.
My wife has a great capacity to continue to think of others even as she is suffering physically or undergoing emotional strain. Her trust in the Lord shines through her as she undergoes the fires of life’s difficulties. God’s glory is manifested through her in such situations. I have said to my wife on more than a few occasions that “she is a weighty person”. When I say that to her she knows that I am not talking about her physical weight but the strength of her God-wrought character. By now, she knows that her husband is giving her a “heavy” compliment.
Jesus Is The Heavyweight Champion Of The Universe
My wife is a follower of Jesus. She is a Christian; Christ is in her by the Holy Spirit. The reality of her Christian faith is seen especially when the going gets tough. In this way, she powerfully reflects the example of Jesus. In the last several weeks in our Sunday worship services we have looked at the 7 Last Words of Christ on the cross. It is interesting, but not surprising, that 3 of these 7 Last Words pertain to Christ’s concerns for others.
Despite His severe sufferings, Christ thought of others: those who crucified Him (Luke 23:34), the believing thief (Luke 23:39-43), and His mother (John 19:25-27). Jesus’ tender love for His mother shines forth so brightly as He makes sure that His mother is cared for once He leaves this earth. He entrusts His mother Mary to the care of Apostle John.
When we look at Mathew 27:56 and compare it with Mark 15:40, we see that Salome was the mother of John and James, the sons of Zebedee. When we compare Mathew 27:56 and Mark 15:40 with John 19:25, many infer that Salome was a sister of Jesus’ mother Mary. This would make Jesus 1st cousins with James and John. So here in John 19:26 & 27, Jesus is entrusting the care of His mother to her nephew, John, a disciple of Jesus. At this point, Jesus’ blood brothers do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah/the Christ. The brothers seem to have become Christians after they saw the resurrected Jesus.
The care that Jesus demonstrated on the cross reveals the type of Messiah He is. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep. He is not like a hired hand who runs away at the first sign of trouble. He is so different than many political leaders of today who seem to only care for themselves. Even though He underwent physical torture and severe spiritual and psychological suffering, He still was able to think of others.
When we are going through trials of whatever kind, whether physical, relational, financial or emotional, we can draw near to our Good Shepherd. The true Messiah, Jesus, will never let us down. He can relate and identify with our sufferings perfectly because He bore them on the cross. He not only bore them on the cross, but He overcame them in His death and resurrection.
We presently live in the great in-between. In a way, every day of our lives in this present age is like the Saturday between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. But let us take heart, Sunday is coming and has come. Jesus has risen from the dead and promises to be with us every moment until That Day when we will see our loving Lord and Savior face to face.
This is the very Good News of Jesus the Christ, the true King. Amen
QOTD: Are you learning to entrust yourself more and more to Jesus, the Bishop of your soul?