BIBLE BASED LIVING: Joy and Suffering

A while ago, God brought to mind a passage that He wove deep into my heart a few years ago.
    He sent and had John beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus.
    Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
(Matthew 14:10-14 ESV)
This is one of my most favourite passages of scripture. It helps me understand Jesus more than any other piece of scripture. Sometimes I can't wrap my mind around Jesus (and I'm pretty sure if I ever claim to have wrapped my mind all around Jesus and claim complete understanding that I will have completely failed at understanding Him at all) because Jesus live a perfect life. It's hard to me to understand His perfection because I am not perfect a all. I sin all the time; I forget to love people, I get angry without just reason, I get annoyed and react with impatience, and more than any other sin, I get selfish.

Jesus never did any of these things. Whoa.

But Jesus did mourn. In the scripture above it share that He withdrew to a desolate place. Desolate is defined as "devoid of warmth, comfort, or hope" and similar words in the dictionary paint it as "barren", "lonely", "dreary". It is the opposite of heart-warming. Jesus was going there. He made the choice to go there.

He had just heard of the death of John. John mattered to Jesus. Jesus was sad. He needed to get away. He needed to mourn, and so He went to do so. He left on a boat to a place that would be dreary. 


I've had moments in many seasons of life where I have desperately needed to go to a place that is dreary and just be sad. To be sorrowful and mourn in order to eventually be joyful and filled with hope.


As Jesus arrived at this place, where He was hoping to just get a minute to Himself, He was met by crowds. Crowds who needed Him, their Saviour.

And so He healed them. Because of His compassion.
Jesus loved people. He still does. Jesus loves people. He loves you.

As the Lord brought this passage to mind, I felt like Jesus told me that I am called to a higher purpose, which is to glorify Him. I need to fill my heart with compassion and lean on His strength which is indescribable. I am called to witness, to love, to forgive, and to make Jesus known everywhere.

My sister told me once that oftentimes we like to separate joy and suffering. We don't think that they can be together. But they can be together. Jesus shows us that. We can be in seasons of sorrow while still fully living out His joy.

So, I'm kneeling at the foot of the cross, casting my burdens down (repeatedly, admittedly), and I'm passionately pursuing Jesus.