My mind and my heart have been heavy with the weight of Holy Week, and so writing something about Claire’s journey didn’t seem quite right. So instead, I thought we could dig a little deeper together and reflect on the agony, suffering, and undeserved grace God gives us today. The day He was beaten, spit on, mocked, and killed so that we could have the chance to truly live.
Maybe it’s human nature, but it seems like we try to dodge any kind of pain or suffering that comes our way. It’s uncomfortable. It hurts. It’s not pleasant. Instead of embracing those challenges and carrying up our cross like Jesus did on Good Friday, we run, we hide, we complain.
Why my family?
Why this suffering?
It’s not fair.
A dear friend of mine loaned me a book called Getting Past Perfect by Kate Wicker. Another one of our friends is in line to read it next, so I can’t hold on to it for months pretending like I’ve cracked it open. And I actually have to read it, too, because I know we’ll be talking about it and CliffNotes isn’t going to be able to dig me out of this one. So, last night after everyone in my house was asleep (except me of course) by 8:30 (a miracle!) I picked up the book for the first time and was captivated from the start. Within the introduction there is a quote by Mother Angelica. The timing was perfect (or maybe it’s my heart was open and ready to receive) for Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Her quote resonated so deeply with me, I had to stop reading for a while to really let the words sink in.
“Holiness is not for wimps and the cross is not negotiable, sweetheart, it’s a requirement.”
No one is promised a life free of suffering, free of heartache, or free of pain. So, why do we think that it should be? Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I WANT to suffer or see my kids suffer or watch my family suffer. But why should I be spared? If Jesus, our Lord, our Savior, humbled Himself to come down to Earth and live like us in all ways but sin, if even HE had to suffer…why should I be granted a “get out of jail free” card?
Today we remember the day Jesus was beaten with whips purposefully made to break the skin, dig in, grab onto, and rip apart his flesh… He was spit on, mocked, yelled at, ridiculed. A crown of thorns was meticulously made and then forcefully pushed down on his head cutting into his flesh. He was stripped of his clothes and dignity. His feet and hands were pierced as pound after pound a hammer drove the nails through his skin and he was nailed to the cross.
This realization brings me to my knees. It takes my breath away. It makes my stomach hurt. The tears well up in my eyes and start sliding down my face as I think about all He endured for the sake of our salvation. It’s hard to fathom that He would suffer all of this so that we could be saved. What’s even harder to wrap my mind around is that even if the world only consisted of me… or only consisted of you … He would still choose to endure all of that pain and suffering if it meant our souls could be saved. What kind of love is this? How great. How powerful. How indescribably beautiful.
Today we remember His suffering and death, and let’s not let it pass without carving out some time (even if it’s staying in the bathroom for a few extra minutes to escape the never ending “MOOOOM!!” and tiny hands sneaking under the door) to reflect, to pray, and to thank God for the gift of His son. Our lives are not free of hardship or struggles, and neither was Christ’s. Let’s take time today to be cognizant of those crosses we have been given. Let’s pick them up and place them on our shoulders as we walk next to Jesus on His road to Calvary. The road will be hard. The cross will get heavy. We will stumble. We will fall. We will cry out in pain. But when we offer up our suffering, uniting ours with His, and lay our pains, our burdens down at the feet of Jesus on the cross, suddenly our circumstances that aren’t fair and that don’t seem right can have purpose and meaning. He can take the pain, the heartache, the tribulations and turn them into salvation for souls.
What are some sacrifices, some crosses, you can carry with Jesus up to Calvary today?