This morning during my time of morning prayer I read this passage from John Bunyan:
“…they have left their house and home, and turned pilgrims, seek a world to come, and they have met with hardship in the way and they do meet with troubles night and day.”
This passage is a good reminder that we should expect trouble, trials, suffering, and difficulties to come in this life. Life is hard and it is full of suffering. Furthermore, following Jesus is hard as well; truly following Jesus in this life and living according to the Jesus-way will actually increase your suffering. Sometimes we forget this – especially if we lead privileged lives in the United State of America. We think we can isolate ourselves from suffering if we have enough power, money, or education. But the reality is life breaks everyone of us. We can’t avoid the brokenness this life will bring, and to follow Jesus means to not only step into a way of life that will cause more suffering for us – because we will be living in ways that do not make sense to a world that doesn’t walk the Jesus-way – but we will also be invited, encouraged, and expected to step into the suffering with others. To follow Jesus is to embrace another who is suffering and not to seek to alleviate her or his suffering, but to suffer with them – so they are not alone. This is what we see Jesus doing on the cross for you and me.