Saturday, May 07, 2005

Hebrews 5:7-14

This section of the book of Hebrews (author unknown) addresses the priesthood of Jesus, the spiritual infancy of his readers, and what must be done to achieve spiritual maturity, but it begins with the excruciating suffering and praying of Jesus (at Gethsemane).

Even with full knowledge of the importance of His suffering and death on the cross, Jesus experienced despair. Yet, He learned to obey God so that He could learn how difficult it can be for us to accept God's will.

When we are faced with trying circumstances -- a serious illness, a broken relationship, unemployment, the sudden death of a loved one, etc. -- we are tempted to question, to despair, to be angry. I remember feeling that way when I first lost a loved one. I was 10 years old, and my sister and her 3-month-old daughter, Margaret, were staying with us. I loved that baby. One morning, before leaving for school, I looked in on her. She was in her crib. She lifted her head and looked at me. I smiled at her, and I left. Within an hour, she had joined God.

I do find great comfort in knowing that Jesus understands the suffering every one of us has ever experienced. I do believe that explains how and why He often seems to anticipate our needs. Knowing what is to come and how it will affect us, He provides that chance meeting with someone who gives us guidance, that welcome phone call when we feel alone, the loyal friends to be His understanding heart, His comforting hands, His arms around us.

It was only years later, after I'd grown in my faith, that I recognized the gift He'd given me with that brief moment of eye contact with my Margaret. I still remember.

Thank you, Jesus, for suffering so that You could understand what I needed then, what I need now, and what I'll need tomorrow. Thank you for anticipating and for providing. May each one of us grow in our faith and learn to trust in You always. Amen.

Martha Olson

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