Suffering is part of our shared reality.
Humans, animals, plants and our environment
are all vulnerable to suffering.
Suffering can be intentional or unintentional.
It can result organically, or the consequence of
human error or be imposed by choice – as is
the case this Palm Sunday morning when two
Egyptian Coptic churches were bombed by
terrorists and over 100 people either killed or
Suffering is real and can be experienced
physically, emotionally, psychologically and
It can contribute to feelings of isolation and
Suffering attacks the weak and the strong
It can harden our heart or move us to
Suffering threatens our well-being, but does
not have to consume our story.
The contemporary writer Rob Bell writes:
“Our tendency in the midst of suffering is to
turn on God. To get angry and bitter and
shake our fist at the sky and say, "God, you
don't know what it's like! You don't
understand! You have no idea what I'm going
through. You don't have a clue how much this
hurts… The cross is God's way of taking away
all of our accusations, excuses, and arguments.
The cross is God taking on flesh and blood and
saying, "Me too.”
Jesus suffered unimaginable pain as a result of
betrayal, jealousy, misperception, anger, fear
and barbaric governance.
Jesus faced his suffering with determination
and confidence. Nothing would prevent him
from offering God’s love to all who would
receive it. And, God would help him.
While I do not believe God intends suffering
for anyone or anything, I‘m certain that God
works through whatever means and in any
circumstance we offer to God, even our
Like us, Jesus felt alone in his suffering – as if
God had turned away. But I believe that even
while feeling alone, Jesus offered his suffering
to God and never faltered in trusting in God’s
unfathomable love for him and the world.
The story of Jesus’ passion engages us right
where we are – in a world of suffering. But as
this is only part of Jesus’ story, so we are given
hope in life beyond suffering.
For me, Jesus should never be defined by his
suffering but rather by his love.
Jesus’ story reveals God’s heart overflowing
with undefeated, ceaseless love.
When in the midst of suffering, we can take
heart. Jesus knows our pain. He is with us,
enfolding us in God’s love.
As Christians, we believe that one day all
suffering will be healed and all life restored in
God. This is our hope and promise through
the gift of God’s love revealed in Christ Jesus.
So remember, God will never allow suffering
to be the end of the story.