Made Perfect in Suffering
We were finally home after my daughter's bone marrow transplant. While I felt over the moon for our family to finally be sharing a roof (after three months living in hospital) it was busy; Multiple weekly appointments, blood tests, PICC line care, all a 2 hour drive away, but it was so worth it.
Then, on a sunny August afternoon, three months later, looking over her lastest blood results, her doc planted the seed that we may have to repeat the transplant.
The words felt like a sucker punch in my gut.
I couldn't go through all that again.
The hospital stay, the fears, the time away from home, the chemo...
While I held many beautiful memories despite the dark times in hospital-of how God's hand moved in grace and mercy-my human control system resisted vigorously any invitation to return.
You may know what it feels like to face suffering. Even now as those memories surface, your heart starts to beat a little faster. A season of darkness and chaos, pain and heartache, you look back with trepidation and think, "I'd never want to do that again."
Most of us wouldn’t willingly choose to go back to our seasons of suffering. Our human nature desires health, peace and prosperity, not hardship. These longings point us directly to the hope we have in Christ, looking forward to the day he will return to make all things new when we will finally experience the fullness of perfection in a new creation, yet this promise isn’t completely fulfilled today.
So while we wait, we are exhorted in Hebrews 2 not to drift away from our salvation but instead to remember the one who established it for us.
“But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angles, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone” (Heb 2:9).
“For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering” (Heb 2:10).
His death is our death, his glory is our glory, his holiness is our holiness, because of his perfect love in sacrificing himself for us.
Because he was made perfect in suffering, he can take our place as the perfect sacrifice.
Not only in his sacrificial death, but in his perfect life. He defeated sin and Satan in his righteous life by resisting the temptation common to all of us. In his humanity, he was victorious in all the ways we are not. It’s the reason our good works will never save us, but his good work will.
Because he was made perfect in suffering, he intercedes for us with mercy and faithfulness.
When we haven’t experienced a particular hardship, our words of encouragement to another may feel incredibly lacking. Yet, Christ understands our suffering because he experienced it. Therefore he intercedes for us, prays for us and comforts us with an all-encompassing compassion and faithfulness.
Because he was made perfect in suffering, we have an everlasting hope.
The possibility of facing another season of adversity is in some ways inevitable in this life. We don’t choose our circumstances, they happen upon us within the love, care and sovereignty of God’s hand.
God used suffering in the life of Christ for our good, and likewise, he will continue to use it for our own good, preparing us for a special ministry in and through it, for the glory of his name and the good of others.
This doesn’t mean we invite suffering. We don’t seek it out, rather, we accept our circumstances believing we are held in the arms of a good, good Father who fulfills his purpose for us.
So, looking back on the dark valleys, the stormy seasons, the deep pits of pain, when I’m tempted to think, ‘I’d never want to do that again,” I remember even if I face it again, the Lord Jesus was made perfect in suffering for my good, he is praying for me even now, and he is coming back again to right everything that’s wrong.