...to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:6-10 (NLT)
Some might think God arrogant or unloving to allow such a thing to happen. We forget that it was the choice in the Garden of Eden that unlocked this sin. Our willful and wanton nature was our own undoing. We all have hardships that occur in our lives. Being born again, saved, a Christian or whatever term you relate to once you accept Jesus as your Savior, doesn't stop the hardships or pain; it just means that you have somewhere to go and lay down those things at the foot of His cross and seek Him. You have chosen to acknowledge that you were made for more than this moment and this life alone and have accepted your reliance upon your Creator.
Even as a Christian, "We are pressed on every side by troubles," as Paul points out to us, "but we are NOT crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don't give up and quit." (2 Cor 4:8, emphasis added). The reason we don't quit is that we have a place to turn. Jesus. He is always available and wants you to reach out to Him. He desires your dependence on Him and not your independence. He knows we can't do it on our own. We were created for connection and relationship with others. We were created with a need for our Father. Our Creator. The One who "knows me" the One who "knit me together in my mother's womb" the One who knows the path "ordained" for me and wrote my name in His "book before one of them came to be."(Psalm 139:1, 13, 16). This is the same God who loves us all so much that He sent his only son to earth to become flesh before dying on the cross for ME...for YOU...in forgiveness of our sins.
In the movie The Passion of the Christ, when Jesus is being whipped by the Roman soldiers, he falls to his knees at the post and the beating subsides. And then, he gets up again (right about the 3 minute mark in the video clip below). It was at that moment when I first saw this in the theater, the my Spirit whispered "He did this for me" and I bawled at that realization. That He loved me THAT MUCH! He endured all the cruelty, pain, heartache, beatings, and the cross....for me. For you. For all.
But wait, there's more. That's not the whole story. This is the week that this story first unfolded over 2000 years ago. For "He is Risen". And that is that part that really matters. That same God, our Father, our Creator sent us a Savior. Because that's how much He loved us. As we stand imperfect, broken and as sinners, He offers us grace and mercy and salvation. This salvation comes through acceptance of His son as your Savior and asks only that you follow Him and submit to Him. Surrender. Stop believing you can do it all. Stop believing that you ARE doing it. Yes, pick up your cross, lay down the things of the world, and follow Him. Know He would never lead you astray. He is risen to defeat death. He is risen to connect us to our Father, the Creator. Below is a depiction of how Jesus has bridged the gap between us and God and defeated sin and death.