Anyone who knows me well, knows I’m not much of a crier—at least not someone who usually cries publicly. But put me through a time of pain and loss, and you’ll find me crying my eyes out before the Lord in some private spot in my home.
Those are the times and places when I feel no fear, shame, or hesitancy in shedding tears and being brokenhearted.
There’s a passage of Scripture that paints a portrait of Jesus as someone who continually poured out His heart to the Father in a very candid and unguarded way as well.
I’m so glad we have this peek into how Christ faced suffering and loss so that we can navigate these troubled waters in the same way He did … with hope in our loving Father.
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” —Hebrews 5:7-9
This passage has been so meaningful to me over the years.
There are several important and powerful lessons we can learn from Jesus’ example in times of pain. These are lessons that I’m learning and trying to apply each day—particularly when I am going through trials.
Hopefully, they can be an encouragement for you in your times of adversity as well.
Faced Suffering with Prayer
1. Jesus constantly prayed to—petitioning—His Father.
Hover over Heb. 5:7
While He was on earth, I’m certain that Jesus missed walking the streets of heaven with His Father. For a time, He traded in those walks with His Father to pound the dusty streets of Nazareth and beyond.
Surely, He must have prayed out of homesickness at times.
But more importantly . . .
Jesus knew the comfort that talking only with His Father could bring to every struggle in His life. That’s something all of us can do anywhere.
How often are you praying through your painful ordeal?
Call out to the Father so you too can gain His constant comfort at every turn and in every place.
2. His prayers were filled with fervent cries and tears.
Jesus was His true self with His heavenly Father, crying out to Him with tearful prayers in times of pain (Heb. 5:7). I want to strive for that same authenticity and vulnerability with the Father (and others) as well.
How about you?
I also notice that Jesus didn’t rush past His pain. He knew that the Father would ultimately use His suffering—raising Christ from the dead so that we could be raised up and given new life when we place our faith in Him (Rom. 6:4).
Still, He chose to grieve intentionally and deeply each painful moment He faced until the day of His death (Mt. 26:38-39).
It’s almost as if He bathed each of His many prayers in the cleansing waters of His tears. This makes me realize that “liquid prayers” are some of the best prayers ever!
When was the last time you prayed “liquid prayers”?
Faced Suffering with Submission
3. Christ submitted to God in the pain and His prayers were heard because of it.
Hover over Heb. 5:7 again
This one really convicts me because I typically resist pain in life. But Jesus always trusted God’s purposes in and through His adversity and pain. And, for this very reason, the Father heard His cry.
Do you realize that God is moved to hear your prayers when you reverently submit to pain out of your trust in Him?
Recently, I went through a really painful situation where I felt God nudging me to submit to the pain. I made a conscious choice to trust Him to heal me and to redeem what seemed like a loss.
I don’t yet know what God is doing in that situation, but I’m determined to be faithful to Him because I trust that He is always faithful to me.
4. He accepted the call to suffer in life instead of avoiding it.
Hover over Heb. 5:8
Even though Jesus was God’s Son, He didn’t use that privilege, position, and authority to avoid pain and injustice.
Instead, He willingly faced more pain than any of us will ever know in our lifetimes. He accepted this as the “cross” He needed to carry—going further, to die on a literal, splinter-infested cross for our sakes and salvation.
What is “the cross” Christ is asking you to carry in your life today?
Is it staying in a difficult marriage? Enduring an unfair situation at work? Dealing with demands or losses that have worn you down and discouraged you?
How willing are you to face and accept this suffering like Jesus?
Faced Suffering with the Right Perspective
5. He realized His suffering was beneficial and necessary.
Not only did Jesus need to learn “obedience” from what He suffered while on earth, but He was also made “perfect” by going through that pain (Hover over Heb. 5:8-9).
You and I may not always get to see the purposes God has for the suffering we face and endure in life. But we can rest assured that God is using them to teach us obedience, as well as perfecting our image into more and more Christlikeness as a result.
That’s certainly worth the pain, right?
If Jesus needed painful tests and troubles, then what makes you think you can avoid them in your life?
Jesus Faced Suffering to Win Salvation
6. His perfection accomplished the best outcome ever—salvation for us!
Hover over Heb. 5:9
Jesus knew what was necessary to save our souls and willingly accepted that plight long before any of us took our first breath.
I’m sure He also knew and saw every single sin we would ever commit, yet did not reject us nor veer from His mission to save us.
He knew that going through immense suffering and rejection would help Him to identify with our sufferings as humans. This gave Him first-hand knowledge of how hard it is to bear up under intense injustice and excruciating heartbreak.
It empowered Him to love us—imperfect beings—perfectly!
You and I can’t win salvation by facing suffering, BUT we can draw others to His salvation whenever we reflect the loving way He faced suffering.
Keeping this as your goal and aim can bring so much joy to your heart despite the pain in your life and/or marriage!
It’s certainly teaching me to find joy in unexpected places!
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Messy Marriage