How can suffering pay the price of heaven?

Dear Reader, the road to the cross is not for the faint of heart. Reflecting on the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus is hard, but how can we come into a closer relationship with Him if we don't dig a little deeper? Let's go on this difficult journey to discover "what price heaven?" together.

Our annual Friends and Family Tea is always a delightful mix of people and conversations. One chat a couple of years ago was a doozie. Like battle-worn soldiers, three guests and I compared our recent knee-replacement experiences, and our scars. Even I thought it was a bit bizarre.

Why does it seem that when people get together, we sometimes find ourselves in a chat about our “war wounds”? Is it because in some weird way physical suffering confirms that we’re alive? Does it provide common ground on which we may draw closer?

To tell the truth, Dear Reader, I’ve never encountered anyone who has been wracked by debilitating pain. All it took was a reading and hearing a few personal accounts to realize how weak-hearted I am. (Mama would testify to that: none of her urging convinced me that nursing was my best career path.)

Maybe it’s that aversion to pain and suffering that makes me want to skirt past the passion of Christ and go straight to His resurrection. But not this year. During this Lenten season I’m making a different choice.

It occured to me that I don’t love Tom or our kids less because I know the good, the bad, AND the ugly about them. Do I want to draw closer to the One I claim as Savior enough to learn more about the ugly?

Then Pilate laid open Jesus’ back with a leaded whip . . . 

John 19:1 TLB

A  little study to produce a disturbing grasp on the torment of being scouraged by a Roman soldier. Don’t worry, Dear Reader, we’re not going to go into graphic details. Can we agree that the physical suffering inflicted on Jesus is probably greater than any we can imagine?

But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins! (MSG) 

He was beaten that we might have peace; he was lashed—and we were healed! (TLB)

Isaiah 53: 5

I don’t know which is harder to understand, the brutality of the soldiers, or Jesus’s choice to suffer such agony. How can I respond to His choice with less than humility and compassion? Does my spirit reflect praise and thanksgiving for our Savior’s willingness to pay the price of heaven through His suffering for me?

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