Have You Considered My Servant…?

Often times, when Jesus allows a trial into our lives, we focus on the pain, the loss, the hurt, and the ever-present question “Why me?” It is not often that we think about that fact that before that trial got to me, Jesus knew of it, knew what would come out of it, and, most importantly, knew how much it would hurt! It’s important to note that I didn’t say “how much it would hurt me”, since I am not the only one that hurt! Jesus hurt with me, FOR me, before that trial ever came TO me.

Parents often hurt for their kids. Many of us heard the phrase “this is going to hurt me a lot more than you” during periods of discipline, and many of us never understood that phrase. Comedians have often made jokes on the phrase, as well. But when you become a parent, it suddenly makes sense that no matter the pain to your child, it hurts you more because 1) you know the pain their going through and 2) you can’t do anything to stop it. That second part is even more excruciating, sometimes, than the original pain.

Jesus is NOT powerless to stop our pain, as some pseudo-scholars would suggest. Nor is He apathetic or indifferent to our pain! On the contrary, He has experienced some of the greatest pains a human being can endure. Let’s take a moment and list some of them:

  • He was betrayed by one of His own disciples; Judas Iscariot ate with Jesus, watched Him perform miracles, heard Jesus’ teachings, and willfully followed Him around for 3 years. At the end of all of that, Judas sold out Jesus for the same as the cost paid for a slave that had been killed. What a slap in the face! And to top it off, Judas Iscariot’s betrayal was marked by a kiss, an intimate act in Middle Eastern culture that identified someone as received or accepted as a friend.
  • He was mocked, ridiculed, and beaten; most adults have been witness to an abuse of authority, and many adults have been witness to someone being physically harmed. Jesus endured both. In fact, it is widely agreed, amongst Biblical scholars, that Jesus was beaten to the point that it was hard to recognize Him. Additionally, the ridicule included being crowned with a crown woven of thorns long enough to pierce the skin and scratch the bones of the skull.
  • He was then flogged; this process was intended to inflict maximum casualty to a person’s back. The whip was designed to tear at the flesh and muscle. In point of fact, there are only a few who ever survived this punishment of 40 lashes. It was considered a death-sentence. And this happened without time to heal from the aforementioned beating and ridicule. In short, Jesus has now endured an immense amount of pain!
  • He was then condemned, unjustly and without cause, to a death on a cross. A crucifixion was a deadly enough sentencing as to be excruciating on its own. However, it is important to realize that Jesus is now carrying a cross (or portion thereof, depending on your interpretation) with a face of broken bones, likely sporting a concussion, and a severely sensitive, raw-meat-esque back. There is no doubt that every movement, every step, every sensation was agonizing! Without a doubt, He could not even grimace without it causing additional pain!
  • And amidst this, the Lord of All was denied by the very creation He’d made. His chosen people and the majority of humanity had aligned against Him. The very God who had created them, who had provided for them, who had lovingly taught, nurtured, and protected them was here being beaten, broken, battered, and crucified by them. I can’t even imagine the grief that had to pierce His heart watching something akin to His own kids shout for His death.
  • And this is not the end! We can also infer that Jesus had endured His earthly father’s death, had been present while others grieved the loss of loved ones, and He had to knowingly walk away from healing some, as He tended to His Father’s mission. It is no small thing to say that Jesus endured everything we have experienced and more!

“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfector of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising its shame, and has sat down a the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Hebrews 12:2-3

Hence, we can honestly conclude that when Jesus allows a trial into our lives, He not only understands the pain we are about to endure, but He grieves that we must go through it. Yet, He also sees the outcome, and this is the other important aspect! Depending on where you are in life, either of these may be more revelatory for you, but He knows your pain, and He knows why this pain at this time!

We are not called to know the why, but to trust Him in the midst of the questions. Given that He endured these pains, and given that He knows all things (past, present, and future, until the end of all time), then we can trust that the why is inconsequential (to us, ultimately) because of the love that approved this moment. And how do we know His love approve this moment? For that, we turn to Job.

“The Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?…”

Job 1:7-8a

“Have you considered my servant Job?” Seriously?! Why, Lord, would you bring Job to the enemy’s attention? Well, that question is never answered, except that we know God wanted to use Job’s life as a text to teach us about Himself and encourage us to endure these times when God may appear unjust (for God is never unjust!). But God never says why Job had to go through His trial. We only know that Satan was explicitly bounded by The Almighty. Make no mistake, dear Reader, Satan is not unlimited! He has only as much rope, power, or ability as God allows Him to have. That said, if we choose to focus on the situation rather than Our Savior, we may well be handing Satan a little extra support, and we should always resist the enemy in our lives.

I’m at my self-imposed word limit, so I’ll wrap this up with one final quote, as I think it grants the final perspective I hope to leave you with. At the end of the day, no trial is without purpose! God is working in and through our lives (both, at the same time) as we follow Him. Hence, when He allows a trial, He is both working something out-of/in-to our lives and using us in others lives. But, when the trials get rough, and the cries turn toward, “please, Jesus; just let me come home!”, it is important to remember that even Jesus said the same, “Father, if there be any way, please take this cup from Me!” And with that, I’ll let Paul close us out.

“More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:8-12

Godspeed – 1 Corinthians 15:10

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