"To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps." -1 Peter 1:21
Often during a single day I will have to make 26 different adjustments in my wheelchair. When pain begins to burn between my shoulders, it’s, “Judy, would you please push my hips this way... lift up on that side... move my knee to the right... would you please stretch my arm up? Thank you for shoving that pad down further behind me.” Usually I have to lie down and make an adjustment that way. Sometimes I think I’ll drive me and my friends crazy!
That’s when I need to remember today’s verse. To this I have been called. The Man of Sorrows acquainted with grief is my example. Life is supposed to be difficult. Jesus said in this world we would have trouble. Philippians 2:29 reinforces that it has been granted – that is, it has been gifted – on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but to suffer for him. Sometimes I don’t want that gift, but I remember that discomfort is God's way of keeping me close to him. If Jesus learned obedience through the things he suffered, then I can learn from 26 different adjustments in my sitting position (Hebrews 5:8).
God desires our intimacy, but he shares that intimacy on his terms. And those terms require for us to in some way suffer as his Son suffered. The next time you get hit broadside with a bruising disappointment, remember the example of Jesus Christ. God is asking you to follow in his steps.
Lord Jesus, it goes against my human nature to look at hardship as a gift. Today, help me to unwrap that painful gift and learn obedience through the things I suffer... help me to seek intimacy with you through disappointment... help me to understand that life is supposed to be difficult. Most of all, may I realize you are worth it.