Philippians 1:29: “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him.”

Do you think a life free from trouble brings us happiness? I am not so sure about that. There is a German idiom that actually makes fun of the desire to live in a world without problems: “Friede, Freude, Eierkuchen!” which loosely translated means: “Everything’s just hunky-dory!”

Problems ultimately are our friends. Suffering shapes us, especially when we include Jesus into the equation. He suffered like a champion. The Lord was not defensive or lashed back at those who made Him suffer, and yet He was no doormat either. He was the King in chains. Pilate took note of that when he saw Jesus in his interrogation room (Luke 23:3):

“So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “You have said so,” Jesus replied.”

Jesus fully cooperated when He was apprehended by the Roman authorities. He continued to make life better for the people around Him until He drew His last breath. Here is a list of things He did while on trial and even while dying on the cross:

* He healed someone’s ear (Luke 22:49-51);

* He made arrangements for His mother’s continued care (John 19:25-27);

* He consoled the person crucified next to Him (Luke 23:42-43);

Trying to make sense of a bad situation, we may be tempted to throw a pity party, or even get angry. All these kinds of reactions are understandable, but they are a waste of our time and energy. Jesus inspires us to take a different approach.

The 2020 outbreak of a virus has wreaked havoc everywhere. These are difficult times on many levels. Jesus helps us to look beyond our personal pain and be a friend to someone in need. An extraordinary crisis could forge a world community that we forgot we had all along.

“What if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise”    Laura Story

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