The Christian life is one of celebration and one of suffering. Most of the time we split the two. We have seasons of celebration like graduating from college, getting married, having kids, getting a job and there are presents, people, parties, and it is a lot of fun.
Then we have seasons of pain and suffering like sickness, loss of job, legal problems, obstacles, and relational strife, and during those time there is an absence of celebration. We tend to want to move through the season of suffering as fast as possible so we can get back to the celebration. Who wouldn’t?
Yet when we look to Scripture we see a Savior who experiences a life of celebration and a life of suffering. In His celebration we see King, victorious, ruler, creator, and glorious. However, He is also suffering servant. He came from a poor family, worked a skilled job, considered homeless, broke, and hungry. He was disowned by His family, betrayed by friends, crucified by crowds, and was falsely accused, falsely tried, false witnesses, and executed.
If we remove suffering from our faith then when we find ourselves in the midst of pain we will wonder why. Why is God allowing this? Where is God in all of this pain? Why isn’t He doing something? Why didn’t He stop it?
In the Scriptures there are large chunks of suffering that we overlook. Of the 150 chapters in Psalms about 1/3 of them are describing their pain and confusion. Jeremiah is largely a book of lamenting. Lamentations is a collection of poems about misery. Almost all the prophets have at least one section describing their pain and confusion. Jesus talked about His suffering, Paul talked about his suffering, Peter talked about his suffering, and somehow it goes overlooked in Christianity today. It isn’t uncommon to look through Scripture and find people crying out to God and wondering why they were even born.
There is a tension in Christianity in that through faith in Jesus we become children of the King of Kings and we can experience a life of celebration, but there is also a life of suffering that often times gets neglected. It seems that somehow these two are intertwined and instead of living a life of celebration that every once in awhile experiences suffering the Christian life is more so a both a life of celebration and suffering.