One of the benefits of enduring our own suffering, regardless of the origin, is the ability it gives us to see the suffering in others and to respond to it with empathy. None of us enjoys suffering, but we must always consider the suffering that Jesus Christ did on our behalf, and we must always think about the suffering that others endure.
Something to consider is the daily devotion I wrote for February 29 in my book “Today Is….A Gift From God”, which follows:
a good day to drink from your own cup of suffering.
“But Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup of suffering the Father has given Me?’” John 18:11 NLT
Jesus was brought into the world for a specific purpose. He knew what that purpose was and knew what would be required of Him to achieve that purpose. When Judas betrayed Him, Jesus had already seen it and knew that it signified the beginning of the end of His time on earth. He was aware also of the pain, suffering, humiliation and cruel death that awaited Him. “The cup” signified all of these things and Jesus knew that He would have to “drink” from it to fulfill His purpose on earth.
Jesus Christ knew that everything He faced was required if the world was to have hope, so He drank from His “cup” with a thirst that could only be quenched by His ultimate death.
The courage and faith in His Father that Jesus demonstrated should be all the inspiration the rest of us need to help us to thankfully drink from our own “cups of suffering.” The acceptance of Jesus Christ as our savior gives us the certain knowledge that our fate will be the same as that of Jesus when our own cups are finally emptied: When we die, we will be rewarded with a perfect life everlasting with God.
It is understandable that with our human frailties, we often become wrapped up in our own little worlds. We allow ourselves to think, “Certainly no one’s problems are as serious as mine. Certainly no one else has to suffer in this life as much as I do.” However, when we stop to pray about our lives and think about other people, we become acutely aware that many people have considerably larger “cups” to drink from than ours.
Perhaps if we reached out to help someone steady their cup, we may find that ours contains less when we pick it back up again.
Perhaps if we are more accepting of our circumstances, less quick to complain, and not as prone to think, “Oh, woe is me!”, we will find ourselves embracing our “cups” with a peaceful heart and the knowledge of the reward that awaits us in the future.
No matter how full of suffering we imagine our own “cups” to be, they are empty compared to the cup of suffering that Jesus Christ drank from before He died for us.
Pick up your cup of suffering and raise it to the Lord and say, “Since You died for me, Jesus, the least I can do is live for You.”