Why I'm Thankful for a Suffering Savior

Sometimes life doesn’t make sense. Sometimes there are no easy answers. Sometimes the only response is a fist against the wall and tears streaming down your face. Sometimes the only prayer is “Why, Lord?” and a weeping “But yet will I trust You…” Sometimes you must sit with your sadness, keep limping along with your questions, keep trusting and loving and living with your weary, aching heart.

Thank God we follow a Suffering Savior. 

Our Lord knew heartache. He wept over his dead friend and the mourners who thought all hope was lost. He wept over the city of people who wandered lost without a shepherd. He wept in the Garden agony, begging for a different cup, a different fate. He cried out in the anguish of feeling abandoned by God. He was one familiar with pain, well acquainted with suffering. He was despised. He was rejected. He was beaten. He bled. He died, the life breath slowly pressed from his lungs until it slipped away. 

Our Suffering Savior. Pain was not a stranger to him. He knew the aching of the human heart. He knows the breaking, aching, agony of the human heart. He understands the wrestling questions, clinging to trust, fighting for a humble “Not what I will, but Your will be done.” His victory, his sinlessness, does not mean He didn’t have to feel the full force of the struggle. In Gethsemane we see Him showing us how to navigate the struggle. On our knees, weeping, begging, trusting, quieting.

When we jump to the happy ending of the story, Christ’s victorious resurrection, we miss the power in this, in the one well acquainted with our suffering, the one who understands.

Henri Nouwen says, “Those who do not run away from our pains but touch them with compassion bring healing and new strength. The paradox indeed is that the beginning of healing is in the solidarity with the pain.”

In Jesus Christ we find someone standing in solidarity with our pain. He willingly met us in our pain. He stands with us there, in that broken place, and says, “I know. I understand.” In this solidarity, our pain becomes a holy place, for it is a place Jesus reaches us, touching our wounded brokenness, taking it on himself. He meets us there, in the pain. He abides with us there, holding our fragility in tender hands, hands which bear the marks of the pain He took on for our sake. 

I am thankful I follow a victorious Savior, for His victory reminds me this is not the end. But I am thankful He is also my Suffering Savior, for His pain reminds me I am not alone.