How do we deal with pain? Sometimes we try the “silver-lining” approach. We try to convince ourselves and our friends that things are not really as bad as they seem (not unlike the comforters of Job who told him things could always be worse).
Or, we may minimize suffering, anesthetize pain, explain away sin, decorate death until it is all but unrecognizable.
Another approach is to meet pain stoically. We bite our lips, grit our teeth, steel ourselves and forge ahead. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” There must be no tears, no sign of weakness.
But we see nor hear nothing of this on the Cross. Jesus is in pain but He doesn’t pretend. There is a sober honesty in Him. There is no pretending that things are not as bad they seem. The God we see in the crucified Jesus is not a God who summons us to “suck it up” or “cheer up”. Nor is this a God who demands we keep a “stiff upper lip”.
Life at times can be hot and dry and parched, stretched to the point where it seems unbearable. What we receive at the foot of the Cross are not easy answers, quick solutions or soft speeches. What we do receive is a God who shares our pain and suffering and sin. This means, for me, that I have a God I can trust because He has been where I must go. He writes no prescriptions, offers no panaceas, invites no denial, but simply goes the way I must go, the way of mortality, sin, suffering, pain and death. He takes it all upon Himself.
In the dying form of Jesus we encounter the man who shares our need and the God meets our need.
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”