Monday, October 30, 2017

SUFFERING SERVANTS PART TWO OF 7

From: THE OFFICER 1991
Captain Howard Webber

SUFFERING SERVANTS
Power
         But if ever there was a time when Jesus longed to hear those words, surely it was in response to his cry, `I thirst.' It wasn't mere water he longed for. What a comfort it would have been at that moment to hear his Father's voice call down upon those assembled at Calvary, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased' (Matthew 3:17, AV).
What did the Father go through in holding back so small a comfort when he heard that pitiful cry rise up to Heaven? What torture must have been his in resisting what must have been a natural desire to answer when his Son pleaded, 'My God, my God, why. . .?' (Matthew 27:46, A V). Co­equal in power and glory, yes, but surely co-equal in pain, too?
We live in a world that does all that it can to relieve suffering and avoid pain. Comfort and ease are promoted whilst sacrifice and suffering are avoided. Certainly we should not inflict pain upon one another, although unfortunately, that often occurs even in the Church, as we shall see later.
         Certainly we should be like Jesus who came 'to bring good news to the poor . . . proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind; to set free the oppressed' (Luke 4:18, 19).
         There are two ways in which victims can experience relief; it can be in the removal of their suffering or in another sharing it with them. In his incarnation Jesus did both. I remember one day, whilst studying the well-known miracle of Jesus healing Peter's mother-in-law (only two verses, Luke 4:38, 39), suddenly noticing another wonder, so simple, yet profound and beautiful: 'He went and stood at her bedside.' She had a high fever, and whether she was conscious or not, aware or not, he went and stood at her bedside.
         There are trials and tribulations that God removes, but there are trials and tribulations to be borne whatever our aversion to them if we are to be partnered to Christ. God's course may be full of dangers, uncertainties and hard times, (dark indeed—Isaiah 50:10), and our natural response may well be to run in the opposite direction towards the waterfront at Joppa (Jonah 1:3) to find a boat to take us to an easier setting.


END PART TWO OF 7


Major Howard Webber, Retired


Bournemouth, UK

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