Broken Hearts

All of us know what it’s like to be hurt by people or things that can happen while living in this world. No age group is immune; no nation or people are isolated from suffering and pain.

I have had close friends and family members break my heart. I have lost a spouse to death. I have been at death’s door twice in my life. You could add your own sad stories—we all have tales of heartbreaks.

In all of my suffering and trials, over a course of forty-three years, Jesus has never left me or forsaken me.

It is because of His faithfulness and love that I am still following Him and seeking to do all I can to make Him known.

I want to talk to you about the times of your life when your heart was broken. I am sure that this is a difficult subject and not one that you like to think about again. If you went through tough times while alone, a broken heart is even more difficult. Having a friend who knows what suffering is like and understands how we feel can make it possible for us to survive these moments of pain.

Why Does Evil And Suffering Exist In This World?

One of the important questions that people ask about God is why He permits evil, sickness, suffering, and death in the world? If God is all powerful and can do anything, why does He allow a child to get cancer or a evil to destroy so many lives?

What we find when we really study the Bible is that sickness, suffering, and death, were not a part of the original creation of God. Sin interrupted this perfection and caused our physical world to take an unnatural course. All that Jesus did in healing and rising the dead was to suspend the present laws of sin and death for a time in order to demonstrate His credentials as the Creator of all that exists.

It is sickness and death which violate the original intent of the laws that govern the universe. Jesus simply showed us what this world will be like once He has permanently eliminated the scourge of sin and death forever. This was the entire point of Jesus arrival on earth: to stop the curse which came as a result of sin, which in itself was a fracture in the laws of the universe.

Prior to sin entering the world everything worked perfectly and there were none of the terrible things that we see present today on the earth. We all seem to understand that sickness and death are unnatural. These things interrupt and tarnish the perfect life that would otherwise be possible if they did not exist in our world.

The evil that we see present was also not a part of the perfect work that God originally created. Evil is a fracture in the laws of the universe. The problem is that we have become accustomed to these things and have assumed that evil, suffering, sickness, and death are natural parts of our world. They are not.

A Universe Governed By Laws

When God created Adam, He placed him on the earth and gave him dominion over every creature and the earth itself. This first man was subject to all the laws of the universe, just as we are today. Man does not live for himself. He exists within a set of boundaries that allow him to continue to reside on the earth. God established these laws for mankind, just as He established them for the universe.

There Are Physical Laws Which Govern The Universe:

  • Gravity and Relativity
  • Thermodynamics
  • Continuity and Transfer
  • Electromagnetism
  • Classic Laws of Planetary Motion, Universal Gravitation
  • Photonics; Reflection and Refraction
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Radiation
  • Chemistry
  • Geophysical Laws.

There Are Also Spiritual Laws Which Govern The Universe:

  • Sin and Death
  • Judgment
  • Forgiveness
  • Salvation
  • Eternal Life

The principle law that we will concern ourself with are the laws of sin and death. As gravity; “The force that attracts a body toward the center of the earth, or toward any other physical body having mass,” defines objects; the laws of sin and death defines behavior for human beings; “the soul that sins will die.”

God did not place us on this planet with no directives. We all understand that in order for human life to exist, there must be laws to govern behavior. This only became true after the fall of man. Before Adam fell into sin and death began, there was only one rule: “Don’t eat from one fruit in the garden. This single law became the method, by-which, man could measure his love and obedience to his Creator. If Adam truly loved God and would do as He had instructed him; there would be no end to his life, nor the perfection of his existence. If Adam wished to exercise his right of choice and disobey God, then the result would be a loss of eternal life, and his relationship with God.

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17

There was only one rule: don’t eat from this one tree, one penalty: death.

This is the law of sin and death that God had established: “The soul that sins will die.”

“Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.”  ~Ezekiel 18:4

This is what God told Adam on the day he first sinned. His disobedience would result in a “curse,’ that would permeate the entire earth and cause death and decay to begin.

The Curse:

Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it: Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.’ ”  ~Genesis 3:17

The Bible is clear that all men, since Adam, are under a curse. From the moment that Adam disobeyed God, he was under the judgment of sin and death. Because all men are descended from Adam, all human beings have inherited this curse.

Paul wrote later in the New Testament that this was the purpose for Jesus coming into the world, to remove the curse.

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.” Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”).  ~Galatians 3:10-13

What Happened To Adam After His Sin:

The tern: “eyes were opened,” describes an awareness, by experience, of sin. Before this moment, Adam did not know sin nor its affects upon human life. Adam wanted to know what it was like to have knowledge of good and evil as satan had described. Adam was not told that knowing sin by experience would also bring suffering and death into the world and affect every person who would be born after him.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. 8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.  ~Genesis 3:7-8

Their eyes were opened; and for the first time, they noticed that they were naked. They felt guilt and hid themselves from God. Prior to Adam’s sin, he was not focussed on himself; he was looking at Eve and his relationship with God and all of creation. The fact that immediately after Adam’s sin occurs, he becomes self-aware of sin; illustrates the defect that is in all of us. We are sinners by nature, being self-consumed.

This defective nature that we all posses is the cause of all of the pain and suffering that is in the world.

The Bible is clear that all men, since Adam, are under a curse because of the actions of Adam. He was our representative and by his failure, every person on the planet has suffered the consequences. From the moment that Adam disobeyed God, he was under the judgment of sin and death. Because all men are descended from Adam, all human beings have inherited this curse.

We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners.

Our propensity towards sin comes from the fact that we are inherently flawed in our basic spiritual D.N.A. We commit sin because that is what we do best. It is not really possible for any human being to not sin.

A large part of the plan of God in allowing Jesus to suffer for the sins of all people was that God would have a righteous basis to forgive sin. The pronouncement of God was that: The soul that sins will die.

In order for God to be seen as Just, He must punish sin by the death of the guilty. God does not ever overlook sin; He always judges it and punishes all wrong, just as He said that He would.

There is, however, a provision in the law of God that allows for an innocent, who has done no wrong, to substitute his life for the life of the guilty. The innocent is made culpable by the transfer of sins to his account and then takes the punishment that is due. The former guilty party is treated as innocent, and there is no record of wrongdoing attached to his account. This is exactly what was accomplished by the provision in the law of God, to which Jesus availed Himself on our behalf.

Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering (who is innocent), and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him (who is guilty).  ~Leviticus 1:4

Although the process of sin’s removal is the same in both the Old and New Testament examples, through an innocent second party, the permanent removal of those sins in the Old Testament did not occur until Jesus made His one perfect sacrifice for all those sins. After Jesus’ death, everyone who comes to Him based on this provision in the law,  have their sins fully paid, and removed from their record.

All of us have inherited this curse and we feel the results of sin’s curse upon our lives every day.

Because God is so good and loving and cares so deeply for us, He was not willing to let the world remain in this state of suffering and death. Immediately after Adam made his mistake, God offered Himself as a solution. Jesus offered to give His life for ours and take the punishment for our sins at the cross. At that moment, He experience all of the judgement that we deserved. All those who believe this are saved and will live forever in a new and perfect world.

For a full explanation of Salvation’s process, see:The Four Spiritual Laws.”

Even those who are evil and hate God, He tries to wind them by kindness. We often wonder why those who are most resistant to God seem to live the longest amongst us. It is because God is so very patient that He gives the obstinate and rebellious more time to change their minds.

I have known many people who resisted and cast aside God all of their lives. In the final year of their residence on earth they decided to give Him a chance. They told me that they could not understand why their resisted for so long—how wonderful it was to know and love Him at the end of their lives.

Of course, God in Kindness waits for us, our entire life, if necessary. He never gives up on us until our death seals our decision and He can do nothing further to persuade us.

Why Jesus Understands Our Broken Heart

When I first learned about the love of God for me, I was fascinated by the tales I read in the Bible about the Son of God who left heaven for us. I could not understand why any Father would give His only Son to die for people who would never accept His love or even thank Him. Though Jesus died for the whole world, only a fraction have ever accepted His offer of salvation.

I began to read about how Jesus came into the world, poor and unrecognized. I tried to comprehend why God allowed His Son to be born under such difficult and dangerous circumstances? From the moment that Jesus was born, His life was in jeopardy. King Herod of Judea knew about the prophecy of Micah—describing the Messiah as born in Bethlehem. In fear of losing His rulership, he dispatched soldiers to kill every baby boy, under the age of two years. We know that God loves His Son. The question is: how is it loving to allow someone who you care for—to suffer?

Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, Because they are no more.”  ~Matthew 2:16-18

The Bible records a great number of trials and difficulties during the first two, and the last three and one half years of Jesus’ life. The Father ordained that His Son would suffer so that He might learn obedience.

…though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.  ~Hebrews 5:8

If your life has had moments of suffering and loss, then you should have great confidence that you are on a sure course that the Lord has chosen for you. Trials are the loving act of a Father who deeply cares for His children. Through the process of being humbled through our trials, we understand that God is disciplining and teaching us. If we endure our suffering with confidence in the Love of God, then we have achieved the intended results of our trials.

And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?  ~Hebrews 12:5-7

In these difficult and painful moments of our life, we should use the time of our suffering to draw near to the Lord and express our love and continued trust in Him. For as we suffer, we know that we are being refined and purified as fine gold. In the heat and fire of our testing, only the worthless dross of all the empty and fleeting things of this world are being removed. When we come through the trial, what is left is a purified heart that understands the love of God and His great care, in significantly increased clarity than we could have experienced without our trials.

Though we may understand these realities in principle, none of us cares much for times of difficulty. When we are suffering, it hurts. We feel miserable until circumstances improve in our life. If we would remember that not only will good things come into our life but also the bad, we will be better prepared. The Lord permits both light and darkness for the same purpose: To show us who we are in times of suffering and to show us who He is, as He brings us through suffering.

...I am the LORD, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things.’  ~Isaiah 45:6-7

When we pray and ask the Lord for help or direction, often the answers seem slow in their arrival.

This is because the Lord is trying to build character in us. His delay in sending help creates an environment where patience can grow. As we wait upon the Lord, we learn to trust Him more—while we observe that His timing is always perfect. Waiting on the Lord is one of the most difficult things to accomplish in life. A lengthy delay in solutions to our problems does, however, give us endurance and humility. If the Lord did for us the things that we want Him to do, as quickly as we asked Him to do them, we would not grow and trust Him nearly as much as we can when He delays the answer to our needs.

I find that waiting on the Lord is perhaps my greatest struggle. I have no problem believing in the goodness of the Lord and His desire to show His love to me. What I suffer through time and time again is waiting on Him after I ask for His help. In my small world, the Lord always takes far too long. My impatience persists until I receive the answer I had been waiting for. It is then that I can clearly see that had the Lord given me the solution I sought any earlier, it would not have accomplished as much in my heart as when I was forced to wait and trust Him.

At the end of every trial, there is always a great deal that I have learned. The purpose of the trial was not to destroy, but to cause me to grow. In those moments when I am in pain and distress—I call upon the Lord and He hears me. Sometimes there is relief, other times there is a ability to endure the trial. In every case, when I have come through the suffering; I always find that I have been greatly loved and taken care of. It is in those moments of helplessness that I find my greatest strength in simply being still and waiting on the Lord. Resting in His love and trusting in His desire to make things turn out for good; I am able to endure and learn to trust Him more than I had before. Jesus learned obedience by the things that He suffered. You and I are no different. God does not permit our suffering because He does not love us—but because He does.

Jesus Understands Pain And Suffering

Nearly two thousand years ago, in a tiny town where Rachel breathed her last, Herod dispatched troops to kill all of the newborn baby boys, and David was born; an infant came into the world that would change human life, forever.

He was not the kind of man that most people would consider a powerful leader, or conqueror of nations. He worked with His hands and shaped wood from trees into useful objects for life. He used no force to compel anyone, He spoke humbly, and treated the lost, the broken, and the poor, with great compassion and love.

He did not attend a prominent Rabbinical school to learn the ancient scriptures. He was no author or traveling evangelist. There were no accolades or parades when He came into the world, though He created all that exists by the words of His mouth.

Although this man fulfilled every promise of the prophets of old, His arrival at Jerusalem was met with shock and dismay. “Who is this Carpenter from Nazareth,” the Pharisees cried, “no prophet ever came out of Galilee.” He was rejected, despised, ridiculed, scourged and crucified. While bearing unimaginable suffering Himself, the constant desire of His heart was to bring freedom to His tormentors. To the men who tortured Him: “Father, forgiven them.” To the repentant thief on the cross who had mocked Him moments before: “Today you will be with me in paradise.” To the whole world, a promise: “It is finished.” The work of your redemption is complete, eternal life is yours, heaven is your eternal home.

His heart burst from within as the mounting pressure of bearing the sins of the world pushed his body beyond the stress than any man had ever bore. He commanded His spirit to depart His body. He breathed His last, His blood poured out, His work— finished.

For three days, He lay in the borrowed tomb of a friend, his body experiencing no decay. On the first day of the week, a spectacular event—equalled, only by the first moments of the universe; when light exploded into the darkness of this world and He was alive once more.

When we read the New Testament narrative of Jesus, we are struck by the impossibility of this story. There are many aspects of the accounts that the writers are describing that were not expected by Israel, nor the world. The idea that God would visit the earth in the form of human being. The thought that the natural laws of the universe could be suspended by the voice of a man. How could anyone speak to a raging sea and calm it?[1] The possibility that a person could shout at a tomb and the dead would return to life.[2] It’s a good thing that Jesus said the name of Lazarus when He commanded Him to rise; otherwise the dead from the whole world would have risen.

These accounts are not mere myth or allegory; these are the stories from where truth originates.

A Loving Savior

When Jesus spoke to the poor, the humble, the sick, and the repentant, He exercised great mercy and grace. To those who were arrogant, self absorbed, and insensitive to their own deficiencies; Jesus was able to reveal their weaknesses, while also showing them unconditional love. Everything that Jesus said and did during His short thirty-three and one half years on earth, displayed compassion and caring. Even while being abused and tortured, Jesus prayed for those who brutalized Him. When Jesus clearly had the power to stop the pain and suffering that was inflicted upon Him, He chose to bear it and stay the course so that our Salvation would be possible.

Jesus Understands Us

Because our Messiah came as a child, we can have great confidence that He truly understands what it is like for us to grow from an infant—into an adult. He was not lacking information regarding how we feel as a human being—for God knows all things. More importantly, because He was willing to take the body of a human being and live with us, He knows what it is like to be one of us.

O LORD, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. 3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.  ~Psalms 139:1-4

In verse 2, the original Hebrew language that David wrote this text from reveals that God “understands my thoughts afar off.” David did not mean that God is far off from us in heaven and yet He understands our thoughts. It is the intent of the Hebrew language in this verse that David is stating God’s comprehension of our thoughts before they form. He observes the synapses firing in our brain, connecting ideas, and feelings together. The Lord knows our thoughts far off, before we are going to think, what we are going to think. This is how intimately God knows us.

The purpose of the Messiah coming to us as a child was not so that God could comprehend what it is like to be human. Jesus came to us as a child and learned to walk, talk, and be human, so that we could have confidence in His ability to relate to us as another human being.

The Savior’s knowledge of your life is not simply understood by the fact that He knows all about you because He made you. He also knows what it is like to be you, living in this world full of so many heartaches, disappointments, and failures. He understands betrayal, abandonment, loneliness, suffering, and despair. He has experienced all of the emotions you have felt, and He can relate to you as no other person can. We can thank and praise the Father who in His wisdom, sent us His Son and allowed Him to begin life as a child.

Paul wrote in Hebrews 4:14-16 that for this reason, we can have confidence that He understands us. Therefore, we can come to Him at any time without fear or apprehension. We can come boldly to His throne of Grace; and there, we will always find mercy and grace to help in (our) time of need.

He Came To Remove Your Scars

Two days before Jesus would offer His life as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, Mary came and anointed Jesus’ feet with precious oil. Judas went to the chief priests to ask how much they would give him to betray Jesus. On the final night before He was arrested and unjustly condemned to die, Jesus gathered all of His disciples to eat the Passover meal. He took the cup of wine and drank from it, broke the bread and passed it to His disciples. He told these men that the wine was a symbol of His blood which would be shed for the sins of the world—the bread, a symbol of His body which would be broken for us.

“But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”  ~Matthew 26:29

Jesus was taking the vow of a Nazarite at that moment, to separate Himself from the effects of alcohol produced by the fermenting grapes of wine. He was about to offer His life as full payment for our sins. He would allow nothing to numb Him from the pain and suffering that He would experience. He was taking our place at the judgment of God for all sins, and He would not diminish any of the suffering that was required.

While on the cross, suffering unimaginable pain, Jesus refused the sour wine offered to Him by the soldiers—which would diminish His suffering.

…they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink.  ~Matthew 27:34

In His death, Jesus took the full blows of punishment for every person who would be born on the earth. He would take away the hurts, pains, suffering, and death of this world.

Jesus is able to remove every scar from your life and take away every terrible thing that has been done to you. Yet for Himself, He will not rid His face and body of the scars which resulted from the torture He endured when He died for us. These wounds of disfigurement will forever remind us of the tremendous suffering which He endured and the great love that He has for every person.

The following story illustrates the beauty of Jesus’ disfigurement and what it will mean to us throughout eternity:

There was a little girl who was under constant ridicule from her classmates over the appearance of her mother’s face. It seems that when this girl was a baby, her mother’s face was badly burned in a house fire.

As the little girl became a older, she asked her mother how the scars on her face happened. Her mother explained that during a fire that occurred in their house, when she went into the room where her baby daughter was sleeping, the room was on fire. In rescuing her little girl, she sustained the horrible burns and subsequent scars that remained on her face.

The young girl later wrote that upon learning what her mother had done for her and how she had suffered such great pain and suffering in the process of saving her, she had become disfigured, From that moment on, she said that her mother was the most beautiful woman she had ever seen.[3]

The God who commanded the elements of the universe to assemble and brought them together in order and beauty so that we might have a home, later came into our burning house and carried us out unharmed. The scars that Jesus will bear for eternity will allow our eternal gaze upon His face, in remembrance of His great suffering as He publicly displayed His love for each one of us.

In eternity, every moment that we gaze upon Jesus face, we will be reminded that our Lord was willing to disfigure Himself for eternity—in order to save us. How great is the mercy of our gracious God.

When we examine the kind of man that Jesus is, we see a very humble, submissive, and loving friend.

The Redeemer that is presented to us by Jesus, is not one that many would find attractive. Today, when people choose to follow and individual, this person must first be recognized by the world. They should be famous, wealthy, and powerful, before any great number of persons will follow them. The Messiah that the Bible presents is not attractive by the world’s standards. The prophet that Isaiah describes has no physical beauty that would cause people to desire Him. In fact, He will be so disfigured by the suffering of His crucifixion, He will not be recognizable as a man. It is His character , compassion, love, and mercy, that will attract and draw people to Him.

There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.  ~Isaiah 53:2b (NLT)

Jesus, who, came to us in the form of God, did not consider His equality with God, something to be retained, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.  ~Philippians 2:6-8 (RCR)

Psalm 23, Jesus Our Shepherd

One of the great comforting verses of scripture from the Bible is found in the 23rd Psalm.  Here, we see a loving Shepherd who comes into our life to lead us through every hurt and difficulty.

Though the Lord is our Shepherd, we will still suffer losses during our life. Those we love will die; friends will come and go; and material blessings will be gained and lost. There will be suffering, pain, and sorrow—but in all these things; there will be a knowledge that we are loved by God.

We have a Shepherd who is caring for us; tending to our injuries, and comforting us in our losses. There will be no want for answers to life’s problems and difficulties; if we abide-in and stay close to our Shepherd. There will be a confidence about us; though doubts will come and fears will never cease. If the Lord is our Shepherd, we will always return to a place of peace—knowing that God is for us and He will never leave or forsake us. In all these things, we will have no want; for our Shepherd will be our provider and guide through all of life’s perils.

Will We Trust Him?

This is the primary question that the Lord asks of every person; not only at the first moment when we trust Him with our eternal life, but as an enduring question throughout our life. Everyday, Jesus will ask us if we are willing to trust Him. At each trial, during all of our suffering, in all losses and during every discouragement—the question is always the same: “Will you trust me?”

Where The Journey Begins

I have discovered that there is complete satisfaction in Jesus; not in religion or church, but in Jesus alone. Until a person finds their fulfillment in the God who made them, religion and going to church will not hold its intended purpose.

The reason that Jesus left heaven and came to earth was to allow us the opportunity to know the true and living God—personally, as one person knows another.

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.  ~John 17:3

Up to the time that Jesus arrived on earth, God was a distant idea who could never be fully understood. He was in heaven; we are here on earth. The distance between us seemed infinite and unbridgeable. When God came to earth in the form of a man, to become like us, a person whom we were able to see and understand; for the first time mankind knew what God was truly like. By Jesus’ arrival on earth we know and understand who the One true God is.

Jesus came to remove the barrier and infinite gap between a perfect and Holy God and all of us who are imperfect,and unable to reach God, ourselves.

Isaiah describes Jesus As A Man Of Sorrows

He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief…But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away.  ~Isaiah 53:3,5-8 (NLT)

If you have ever watched a person suffer, then perhaps you can understand the meaning of Isaiah’s words. To observe someone in misery is emotionally overwhelming and exhausting. Imagine God watching us from heaven and seeing each one of us suffering throughout our life and missing the incredible blessings that He created for us to enjoy. He knew that we would never be able to experience the perfect life He intended unless He intervened and came to save us.

As Jesus watched our lives,His heart was moved with compassion. He saw us in the true state of our desperation and was compelled to act. Jesus determined that He would come to earth and die for our sins so they would cease to exist and our estrangement from God would come to an end. As Jesus walked amongst us He watched our suffering because of sin. He longed to remove our curse and looked earnestly towards the day when He would hang on the cross and bear all of our shame. When that day arrived it was both wonderful and wicked. Our sins would be removed—but at great cost to the Son of God. Jesus was made sin for us. Could we fathom what this means? The perfect Son of God covered with filth, bathed in the stench of our wickedness; and He took it all.

For God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  ~2 Corinthians 5:21 (RCR)

Jesus did not die, only for those who would receive Him; He also gave His life for those who would never receive His sacrifice for their sins. At the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus contemplated the immensity of the cup of suffering He was about to drink from. He asked the Father if there was any other way that human lives could be spared from judgment. The response was swift and certain; Jesus must go to the cross or we would be lost.

His Suffering Infinitely Greater Than Ours

The sorrow that Jesus must have felt at the moment He was made sin for us, is unimaginable. I believe that the suffering Jesus endured at the Garden of Gethsemane and upon the Cross, is beyond our ability to comprehend as mere human beings. It is likely that it will take eternity to allow us the capacity of understanding the depth of Jesus’ suffering and the grief that He felt as He made His life an offering for us.

The interesting fact of Jesus sacrifice is that He did not have to die for us. It was of no consequence to God if the entire human race perished. God neither gained nor lost anything by Jesus’ death for our sins. He was already perfect and complete in Himself. God does not require the love or fellowship of anyone to increase His glory. He did not die for us because we are so wonderful and deserved such great love. Our ability to understand these truths is predicated upon our view of of our personal estate. If we do not understand our destitute condition, then it will be very difficult for God to save us. If we deny that these things are true, then we will never be able to come to God in a meaningful way. No person can truly be saved until they reach the end of themselves and believe that only God can save them.

There are many people today who claim that they once believed in Jesus and were faithful servants of the Lord. Like Judas, they never really believed and their actions in following Jesus were simply mechanical and contrived. There was no moment of sincere repentance over their sins and a deep need to be forgiven by God. Those who do not come into a relationship with the Lord by sincere repentance and a genuine belief that they are a hopeless sinner—cannot be saved. The thief on the cross next to Jesus, did not understand all the theological points of Christianity, but he did understand one thing; he was a sinner, in need of a Savior. He believed that Jesus was dying for Him and when he said: “Lord remember me when you come into your kingdom,” this was his sincere expression of sorrow for his sins and a belief that Jesus could save him.

Jesus became a man of sorrows and He was aquatinted with bitterest grief because of my sins and your sins. We can be thankful and very glad that He was willing to bear the unimaginable horrors that were thrust upon Him. Jesus was willing to suffer for us to show the world how great the Love of God is and how far God will go to reach us. Sadly, to this very day; the world continues to ignore and reject Jesus.

The Difficulties Of Jesus Life

In order to place Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem so that Jesus could fulfill Micah’s prophecy of the Messiah born in Bethlehem, God ordained a worldwide census by the Roman government. Joseph was required to return to the place of his ancestors’ birth to register for this census. While in Bethlehem, Jesus would be born, thereby fulfilling the prophecy of Micah 5:2:

“…Yet out of you Bethlehem shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel...”  ~Micah 5:2a

Luke Records This Event In Chapter 2 Of His Gospel

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.  ~Luke 2:1-5

So that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, all the citizens of the Roman empire were required to obey God’s will. The Lord moved Caesar Augustus to order the census, showing His great power over all kings and governments. Throughout the Bible, we see many examples where the Lord is described as able to move people where He wants them to go and place into their hearts a desire to do His will.

Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. 21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings.  ~Daniel 2:20-21

…the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.  ~Daniel 4:32

…For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, “What have You done?”  ~Daniel 4:34-35

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  ~Romans 8:28

For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose.  ~Revelation 17:17

God Is Able To Move The Entire World To Accomplish His Word.

Knowing God’s power to move the world in order to fulfill His word, is it really that difficult for the Lord to care for us everyday and provide all we need? Since our God can control the movement of people all over the world and bring a poor family with very little resources to the exact place that they need to be in order to fulfill His prophetic word, is He not also able to care for us?

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.  ~Ephesians 3:20

Imagine the difficulty required to accomplish this requirement:

Millions of people will have to disrupt their lives and leave their homes in order to travel to the place where their ancestors were born. What great trouble and expense millions of people would have to endure simply because the God of Israel is going to fulfill His word!

It seems that one of the purposes for this event is to display before us, how great the Lord’s power is.

Joseph is descended of King David. Although Jesus is the stepson of Joseph, He will receive His legal right as the King of the Jews, as a descendant of David, from His stepfather Joseph. When Joseph learns that he must register for the census, he understands that this will require Mary, who is nearly nine months pregnant, to travel over 80 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem. This will be an extremely difficult journey over rough terrain while riding on the back of a donkey. All of this, simply to complete the registration required by the Roman government.

Why would God require Joseph and Mary to experience such a difficult and dangerous task? Since they will be the parents of the Messiah, should not God make the circumstances of Mary and Joseph’s life a little easier?

Understanding Why God Permits Suffering

You see, this is where we often misunderstand the will and purposes of God for our lives. He is more interested in developing our character than He is in providing us with more comfort. It is by the suffering that Jesus had to endure, that He learned to be obedient to the Father.

Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.  ~Hebrews 5:8-9

Though Jesus is the Son of God, He had to learn to be obedient. It was by Jesus’ suffering that He was conformed into the will of God to complete our salvation. How much more shall we—also need to learn obedience to the will of the Lord—by the things that we must also suffer in our life?

We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.  ~Acts 14:22

God allowed the journey of Joseph, Mary, and the unborn Messiah to be extremely difficult—so that by their suffering, they would all be prepared to accomplish what the Lord would later require. The world needed a Savior who could understand poverty, difficulties, hardship, and suffering. Jesus was being prepared to be a Savior who understands us, even before He was born.

For this reason, you can have confidence that Jesus understands your broken heart. He knows what trials, suffering, and difficulties are all about. He know what it is like to be betrayed, misunderstood, and ignored. Jesus was tested in all things that you will go through. He is able to understand how you feel and help you in your hour of brokenness.

His Schedule, Not Yours

The Jews living at the time the Messiah was born in Bethlehem were expecting a King—far different from the one that was presented to them. Since 27 B.C., the nation of Israel had been under the dominion of the Roman government. The Jews had lost their right to self-rule and many people had begun to feel as though they were forsaken by God. When Jesus presented Himself as a suffering and dying Messiah, the leaders of Israel were unprepared to receive such a King. The Jews desired a conqueror who would set their nation free from the oppression of the Romans. Jesus taught that the Messiah would make His appearance twice: once for salvation, and second time—to overthrow the kingdoms of men and establish His righteous kingdom.

Jesus came first to conquer sin and death; later, He will overcome and subdue all of the kingdoms of this world. It was the timing of God’s Messiah that the Jews did not understand.

The Lord’s schedule is always perfect, as we examine the prophecies of the Bible. In every prophetic utterance made by God, there was a specific time of fulfillment appointed. Jesus made sure that He always followed the Father’s predetermined plan and not the will or expectations of men.

Just before Jesus would go to the Garden of Gethsemane, where He would be arrested and taken violently—scourged, and crucified, He went before the Father in prayer. John Chapter 17 records the words of this true “Lord’s prayer.” In these 26 verses, Jesus prays directly to the Father. He speaks of the hour that has come, in which all the prophecies that we have looked at together so far, would be fulfilled.

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.  ~John 17:1-5

It should be noted that once we surrender our life to Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are on His timeline. The Lord will place us into a predetermined plan that He designed for us before He made the world or anyone upon it. Most often, we may not be aware that we are following a plan that God has determined for us. It is not until we begin to experience difficulties or suffering, that we may doubt whether we are in the will of God. It is during times of trial that we might question the reality of God’s love for us—when He allows our suffering. In reality, it is because the Lord does love us so dearly, that He permits our discomfort.

[1] Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” Matthew 8:26-27
[2] Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.” John 11:41-44
[3] The source of this story is unknown. It came from my personal notes over the course of the years. If you know the author, please email me at so that I might give proper attribution to the author.

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