“I will glory in the cross In the cross Lest His suffering all be in vain I will weep no more for the cross that He bore I will glory in the cross” Gospel Song
Suffering is hard. Even the image in your mind when you hear the word is painful. A loved one with a serious illness, a sick child, war, family problems, and a host of other circumstances bring suffering. Jesus suffered for us and we are to share in his suffering. As the Holy Scripture tells us “And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” Romans 8:17 That is a hard truth to understand and follow. You can have empathy or sympathy when someone else is hurting. If it is a suffering that I’ve personally experienced, then I can have empathy. But if not, then I can only have sympathy. It is no good me telling a woman who just lost her beloved mate of 50 plus years that I understand. There is no way that I can. However, you can list some other suffering and empathy is possible because of my past. The cross was bloody. Suffering was visible. Glory was also visible. Even some who watched were changed forever. A thief on the cross beside Jesus was promised “this day you will be with me in paradise”. The one on the other side did not recognize Jesus suffering as divine and he had no such promise. So we know the cross was glory. Eternal glory laid up for all of us. “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.” Romans 8:18
May these words comfort you in your suffering this Christmas season. People have worn the cross as a reminder of Jesus Suffering. Most evangelicals wear the empty cross, representing that Jesus is risen. Catholics us a crucifix to remind them that Jesus suffered on the cross for them. Either way it is a powerful symbol of faith.