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From Hardship to Happiness
…who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross… (Hebrews 12:2)
Jesus, in the garden of Gethsemane, was facing a crisis. He anguished in his soul about the situation he was facing, but yielded to the will of his heavenly Father. He was about to face terrible physical suffering and death but at this moment, he was undergoing psychological agony. Furthermore, he would be betrayed by a close associate for a small some of money. He was forsaken by his disciples. He would be tortured, falsely tried, convicted, sentenced to death by crucifixion and nailed to the cross. Not only that, but he was mocked, stripped naked, humiliated and died like a common criminal. Jesus endured this hardship because he knew that there would be great happiness in the future, not only for him, but for all who believed in him. Looking at the events of Calvary from that side of history, the life of Christ seemed to be a failure. It appeared to the disciples that he had failed in his mission as the Messiah. They were confused, sad, afraid, perplexed and bitterly disappointed. Jesus understands when we are confused. In all our sorrows, fears, anxieties and disappointments he is near. If we feel let down by other people’s words or actions, we can be sure that Jesus understands and cares. If we are hurt by other people and feel that they are unsupportive, and they undervalue us then there is one who can empathize because he has been through it. Christ was stripped naked so that we might be clothed in garments of righteousness. He wore a crown of thorns so that we might wear a crown of glory. He died so that we might live. Let us hold on to the hope that our hardship now will turn to happiness later. It should be noted that Christ at no point was considering not going forward but rather, the real distress that he was going to die as an accused blasphemer against the Father. His heart ached at such a false claim. So, we too need to realize the enemy will make false claims against us as well, and we too must move forward in our service to God.