In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
Our strongest, most natural desire is to get free of suffering and sickness as quickly as possible. We find ourselves constantly praying, “Take this affliction away. Give us good days, so that all may be well with us again!” But God cannot always give us good days. In this world we will have trouble, and more importantly, Jesus must have people who help him carry the misery of the world, who do not shrink from distress and suffering.
The Savior himself leads the way, carrying his Cross for the sake of God and his glory. God is glorified when Jesus innocently bears the sins of the world – our sins – and openly demonstrates in his own body how poor and Godforsaken we have all become, and how much we are at the mercy of death and destruction. For this reason the Savior does not shrink from crying out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). This should become our greatest woe –that this rebellious world is also forsaken by God, but unlike Jesus, it goes its own way. The Savior sighs to God about this.
Are we moved by this? Who of us sighs to God? Who is pained by the harm we have done and
continue to do to God and his cause? Yes, we sigh and pray, but don’t we mostly sigh and pray just for ourselves and our own need? We have so little heart for God. But that is what should pain us. Our longing should be only to honor God, as the Savior did, and to do so in our suffering. Only if we are imbued with the suffering and death of the Savior and only if, like him, we feel within ourselves the sin and the need of the world, is this possible.
When we grieve for the world and place ourselves in God’s hands, then we can truly act in faith. Such faith will bear fruit, not in the first place for us, but for God and his kingdom. Then God can work great miracles. And then, when it is time, we will also see what we have gained.
Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt