Suffering is the personal experience of Death’s cruelty. Death marks our time in this present world, as without Death, the number of our days would never end. Death is king during this present age and Death relishes his power. Sometimes, Death comes suddenly, to steal life and end it but more often, Death likes to leave us with just enough life to know pain and thereby, be forced to acknowledge his rule as supreme. Agony resides within the full grasp of Death. By torture, Death distorts the minds of his victims and even causes them to long to be swallowed into death and be consumed. Intense pain can make the strongest man cry out for Death! This is strong deception because the only cure for sickness and suffering is Life! Jesus allowed Himself to be tortured and killed by Death but Death was defeated because Jesus died and then rose from His grave to live again. Jesus proved that even though, in this world, Death rules supreme, Life is much more powerful than Death! God is the author of Life and by His Son’s sacrifice and victory over Death, He offers Life freely to all who acknowledge what Jesus accomplished for us and believes. In the future, Jesus will vanquish Death and his rule on earth will be ended; when He comes again, not to offer Himself as a sacrifice but as the Lion of Judah, to fulfill the time of His earthly reign. This is the hope that brings joy to all who are sick and suffering, in Christ: God is working, through Jesus, to eradicate sickness and end all suffering! All who belong to Jesus are an important part of that plan; even when they are sick and suffering. Death cannot steal God’s purpose from His children.
On the cross, Jesus suffered every kind of physical pain that any endure beneath the rule of Death. If you are suffering today, He validates your suffering by His personal experience. He is present, sitting closer to you than any brother or sister, to comfort and strengthen you in your personal battle with Death. Jesus knows the agony of bodily destruction, in the hands of Death and He won’t abandon you in your hour of trial. He holds the only cure for Death and if you put your trust in Him, even though Death destroys your body, in Christ you will continue to live. Death can have no final victory over those who belong to Jesus! Though we suffer now, we will know only Life in the future Kingdom to come. It is that joyful hope that enables the sick and the suffering to endure, survive, and overcome!
I can personally testify that the words I’ve written above are true because I have lived this experience many times over. In my life, I have known more days of sickness than wellness. I have faced my mortality several times. By my suffering, I’ve learned to despise Death as my enemy and to always respond to him by reaching for Life. In Jesus only, I’ve found the personal comfort, strength, empathy, and pattern of endurance to experience the torture of Death and rise to live again. I still struggle against Death, daily but by faith I am strengthened. In Jesus, I am hopeful, joyful, and content. Though my body will be destroyed, Jesus won’t abandon me and I live because He lives in me!