HEBREWS 5:7-10 – In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.
THEME OF THE DAY. ONE OF GOD’S GREATEST TEACHERS. Every Christian wants to grow in Christ. Every Christian longs to be used by Christ. Every Christian hungers to know Christ. Every Christian wants to bear fruit for Christ. Yet, many Christians, including this one, would prefer all that occurs with little pain, suffering, sorrow, affliction and inconvenience. The cry from this type of believer is often like this, “Lord, mold me, use me, but please do so on my terms, on my time table, and without much suffering.” And God will not answer such a prayer. Why? Suffering is one of His best teachers in His school of discipleship.
In today’s scripture, we encounter a truth that is difficult to grasp and easily misinterpreted – “He (Christ) learned obedience through what He suffered.” What this verse doesn’t mean is that Jesus was at a point in His life disobedient and thus had to learn obedience. Not at all. If so, we have no perfect Savior. What it does mean is the Lord Jesus experienced the suffering we do in our humanity in the pathway of obedience, yet without sin.
So with that backdrop, let’s identify a couple lessons suffering will teach us in our lives.
First, like our Lord, suffering teaches obedience, and particularly, the obedience of glad submission to an always good God. The Psalmist would write, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statues” (Psalm119:71). Ultimately, all of God’s work in us is designed to produce obedient children who are growing into the likeness of His Son through that obedience. If we find ourselves complaining, grumbling and attempting to change or control circumstances causing us pain, we are poor students in the Lord’s school of discipleship. And God, in His love, will not allow us to “drop the class of suffering” or “dis-enroll from His school.” We will learn glad submission in the school of suffering now or later. He won’t give up on us (Philippians 1:6).
Another lesson we gain from the wise teacher called suffering is a closer identification with the Lord Jesus. From the pen of the Apostle Paul, we read his testimony – “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10). Did Paul already know Christ? Of course, but he wants more, and the more comes through suffering. Friends, we will experience so much more of Christ’s presence, power, and love in the hottest furnaces of affliction. He draws ever so close to those in the depths of suffering. And when He reveals Himself to us in such depths, we would not sacrifice one second of the suffering for what we gained in Christ.
The school of suffering. Yes, it hurts. Yes, it feels like it will last forever, but see through the pain to the God who uses suffering. It is one of the best teachers to take us to levels of spiritual maturity we would not know with it.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to see the wisdom of Your work in me when I am called to suffer.”
QUOTE: “Learn to see that suffering produces spiritual fruit in us that cannot be grown without pain and affliction.”