The Bright Sadness: Lent Week 6 March 24, 2015
Join us each Wednesday through the season of Lent. Each week we’ll stream a free Ed’s Story film and follow with reflections to guide our thoughts for the week.
The Bright Sadness series has come to a close as of April 6, 2015, and while the film is no longer streaming for free we invite you to watch a clip from the film below. You can rent or download this week’s film, Ed’s Story Grateful, here.
Loneliness is often a close companion to suffering. When we’re visited by one, we’re often visited by the other. And the moment we allow loneliness through the door, we believe that we are alone in our suffering, and we find ourselves in despair.
I always believed in the resurrected Jesus. But now, I’m attracted to the suffering Jesus.
If there’s one thing that is impossible in the midst of despair, it’s gratitude. Despair makes no room for gratitude. After all, what is there to be grateful for? We think, I am alone in this. No one could possibly understand. Even if we know it’s not true, it’s often all we can feel.
I think suffering either makes you angry, or grateful.
The season of Lent reminds us of the depth of suffering that Jesus endured. There is nothing we could experience here on earth—betrayal, abandonment, deceit, physical assault or pain—that Jesus doesn’t know personally. Nothing. When Jesus cried out to God the Father in his final moments on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Mark 15:34) we see a picture of suffering and loneliness that, only by his grace, we will never fully understand.
I wouldn’t wish ALS on my worst enemy, and to be a close friend… I couldn’t believe it.
When we walk through trials and suffering with another person, a bond is created that would never be possible outside of those trials. That bond transcends the boundaries of our day-to-day relationships and contexts, and establishes a trust and an intimacy we couldn’t have otherwise known. This is the bond that Jesus offers to us.
We were brothers. We are brothers. I didn’t know that he was a forerunner in my life with the same disease.
The apostle Paul writes about this mysterious bond with Jesus in the book of Philippians, “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.” (Phil. 3:13) That fellowship destroys our despair, because we know we are not alone in our suffering. We are in the company of the one who suffered deeply on our behalf, motivated by love. We fellowship with Jesus, who, while he suffered, saw us as “the joy set before him.” (Hebrews 12:2) And in his company, we can be grateful—for his fellowship, and because we already know how the story ends.
What can you be grateful for today?
Do you sense the presence of Jesus in your sufferings? What can you do to see him more?