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JOURNEY TO THE CROSS | Week Four: Finding Hope in the midst of Suffering

By: Nicole Miners


person carrying cross

"It's Friday, but Sunday's coming."



We’re sure to hear this sentiment a lot this week as we head into Holy Week. It’s a common expression to acknowledge Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified on the cross as we also look forward to Resurrection Sunday, when He was raised to life again.  It’s a way we acknowledge that, even on the world’s worst day, there was a Heavenly hope awaiting. And, for some of us, it’s becoming a way of life. Maybe we just haven’t realized it yet.



Sometimes a sentiment- even one as weighty as this one- becomes common when we’ve continued to hear it. We can forget to still ourselves and really sit with the words, remembering what they mean. We can get swept up in the sea of holiday expectations- Easter baskets and egg hunts, family photo shoots and fancy dresses, sunrise services and sinking our teeth into Nanny’s secret family recipe for that glorious lemon pound cake. The one with the glaze that generously covers those bundt cake curves like God’s grace covers me when I lie and say I’m only having one slice. Yes, sometimes the sentiment becomes just another surface-level way of celebrating--a sweet-sounding string of words we say to remind ourselves He’s the resurrection without having to stir up in our hearts what it really means to have a risen Savior.



I’ve been there. And I remember the way the Lord helped me to see it in 2021. 



The year prior, I had finally brought my firstborn home from a cardiac intensive care unit after living there for her first three months of life. Two months later, a global pandemic broke out. And two months after that, my daughter landed back in the cardiac unit where she was put on a heart transplant waiting list. We advocated to bring her home since she was not dependent on any IV medications or mechanical interventions. I’d spent months living in an intensive care unit, watching out the tower window, feeling like life would be back to normal if I could just get my whole family back to that outside world. It didn’t take long to learn that’s not always true. It had been a year now of living with doctors’ warnings and our own worries hanging over our heads. Warnings of what an emergency situation would look like and how we’d need to respond if we were not living in the hospital. Worries for our daughter’s life, for our finances, for our family having to live between two cities, four hours apart, if she were admitted indefinitely. By 2021, I was weary in every way. In my faith especially. 



I had quit my job to become a stay at home mother for Savannah’s sake, which meant my husband worked a lot of overtime. So, on Easter weekend (the first Easter our daughter was finally old enough to understand an Easter basket), I was having trouble waiting for Sunday to let her have it. I wanted her daddy to be able to play with her new toys with her all weekend long. It didn’t seem fair to give them to her Sunday, only for him to go back to work Monday. So early Saturday morning, I snuck downstairs ahead of her waking and set up her first ever Easter basket. And just a few hours later, as I watched her squeal with delight over Play Doh and new sunglasses, I heard God say, “You found a way to have hope even here. This is what it looks like to live in the Saturday of your faith.” 



Nicole Miners author quote

What I had thought was my own decision about celebrating a day early had really been the Lord’s prompting. He had a deeper purpose. One to teach me hope in the midst of suffering. The apostles knew Friday didn’t look so good, but they didn’t understand Sunday was coming. They hadn’t read the whole story. As modern day disciples who know God’s completed Word, we can have the perspective they didn’t know how to have.




So many of us are in seasons of suffering with Christ. We’ve had our Friday moment. The diagnosis of our child. The surgery. The traumatic birth experience. The loss. Now we’re here waiting for our Sunday. The day the healing comes. The day all our last wisps of hope are strung to, like a flimsy spider web on a windy day. We’ve struggled with wondering if and when it’s coming, feeling like we’re a part of our own Freaky Friday movie where the day’s never going to end, but we just haven’t recognized what day it really is. It’s only Saturday. We’re right in the middle of it all, but Sunday’s coming. And yet, even here on Saturday, the Bible says THIS is the day the Lord has made and that we ought to rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24).


“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” - Romans 5:1-5 NIV



Reflection
Romans 5:1-5 scripture

The suffering of Christ is often referred to as The Passion. The Word says Jesus endured the

cross for the joy set before Him. Us. Back in unity with Him, like we were always meant to be. Able to receive the promises of Heaven again because of our right standing with God. The joy that was set before Christ in His suffering is now the joy that’s available right in the midst of ours. He’s with us.




When we suffer with Christ, we have the unique opportunity to glory in these sufferings knowing they are producing something fierce and valuable within us. Our suffering is developing a character within us that could not have come any other way. We develop commitment to Him and compassion for others. The prefix “com” means with. Compassion then is entering into the Passion with Jesus. Compassion is also an ability to see, understand, and love others beyond our own ability. This compassion for others only further highlights the Lord’s own love for us, which fills us with a unique hope right in the midst of a lot of hurt. 



We can know He hasn’t left us. It’s Saturday, but Sunday’s coming. He will be faithful to His Word. He will bring life and life in abundance.



Prayer

Lord, this Holy Week, I pray I can set aside my holiday expectations to clearly see what you have done for me as my risen Savior. May the miracle of Resurrection Sunday meet me in my current circumstances filling me with your living hope!





writer

Nicole Miners is married to her high school sweetheart and mama of a miracle girl who taught her the wildly passionate, protective love of a parents. She writes to empower mamas to partner with the Father in discipling and defending the children entrusted to them. Read more of Nicole's pieces on her blog.


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