I’ve mentioned before how I seem to get the keenest spiritual insights while I am running. (See All Sufficient Grace, Refreshing Water, and Jesus: Redeemer and Judge). Today I think I found out a large reason why.
While listening to Kari Jobe’s “Forever” I came across the line that said “The weight of every curse upon him.” That line made me think of the immense suffering the man, Jesus, endured. He had a body like mine, with all the pains, aches, hungers, emotions. The mockery, scourging, insults, beatings were enough to break the strongest heroes of lore. Yet, Jesus carried his cross further. He had to endure the humiliation of needing help to carry his cross. Yet, his pain wasn’t done. Arriving at the Place of the Skull (Golgotha), Jesus had to endure the excruciating pain of being hung on a cross by nails, with open wounds on his back and a beaten body. Yet, through the mocking of the Pharisees (“He saved others but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.” Matthew 27:42), and from the thief next to him (“Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” Luke 23:39) Jesus persevered.
Jesus endured that suffering because he knew of the glory on the other side of it, not that he would be raised to the right hand of the Father (and he was), not that his fame would be spread throughout all the earth (and it is), but that we might be brought back into a right relationship with God.
“It is finished!”
That was not an expression of a man resigned to his fate. It was a shout of victory! It was an announcement that He had fulfilled all of the work his Father gave him. The work of our salvation was complete, and now he rests, seated at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 1:3; 10:9-13), his fame throughout the earth (Habakkuk 2:14; Philippians 2:10).
I do not like running. It is strenuous. It takes a lot out of me. I don’t want to diminish the suffering of Jesus by comparing it to my running, but when I run, I identify in a very small way what Jesus endured on the cross. (I know some of you may love running. It is not a painful chore you have to endure. I wish I were there with you.) But, as I endure the suffering of running, and I feel like quitting, I remember how Jesus did not quit until He had finished what He set out to do. As I suffer in running it reminds me that there is knowledge in the power of His resurrection AND in the fellowship of His suffering. (Philippians 3:10). By being made conformable unto His death, I will partake in His resurrection.
Perhaps enduring the suffering of running has cleared my mind to hear His voice. Suffering has a unique way of giving us another glimpse of who God is. In the midst of your suffering, purpose to know God in a deeper way. He endured the greatest suffering simply to restore a relationship with you. He suffered to know you. In your suffering He wants you to know Him.