Suffering by JW Kaiser
I love that in surfing we honor the legends of our sport so well. That name “legend” has even found a home in our daily vernacular as surfers. We honor the classic style of those who pioneered trim and flow. We pay much respect to the ones whose adventures discovered places like G-Land and Jaws. The heroes of our sport have a special place among the surfing tribe. Who we focus and honor reflects what we value as a culture.
As Christians, we have a similar culture. We honor the giants of faith and call them saints and name institutions after them. However, we must always remember that our faith was built on the reality of a suffering servant. Our faith as Christ followers isn’t just built around the teachings of Jesus and scriptures alone. Our faith was architected by God who would become a man, who would live a sacrificial life in every way even unto the cross, and whose very suffering would be the means to our rescue from sin and eternal death.
One historian noted that “Christianity is the only major religion to have as its central focus the suffering and degradation of its God.”
Of far greater importance than our legacy as surfers, what will our legacy as followers of Christ be? How will we show the world a hope that last forever? Will our faith and hope that is in Christ only be in our strength and abilities? Perhaps God can use our suffering far more than we could even imagine. When was Jesus at his most “powerful”? While walking on water, healing the sick or raising the dead to life? Or was it when He allowed himself to be broken because of his faithfulness to the Father and because of his love for us? Glory isn’t always found in triumph. Sometimes it is found in suffering.
The apostle Paul calls us to follow Jesus by way of embracing and emulating the role of humble, sometimes suffering, servant. “…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4