Most of us have had experiences in our lives that if we had known what we now know in hindsight we would not have walked that path. We would have chosen differently. Although Jesus knew the outcome of His assignment, He did not choose differently. He still chose to come and rescue and redeem us. This demonstrates the depth of His love for us – all of us – after all, He died for the world – not just the church (Selah). “And here is how to measure it—the greatest love is shown when a person lays down his life for his friends,” John 15:13 (TLB). Imagine, knowing – being fully aware – that you are going to be falsely accused, betrayed by someone close to you, beaten beyond recognition, sentenced to death, and executed all while doing the will of His Father; and He still chose to come. We ought to allow that to rest on our hearts for a moment.
There was a time that 2 Corinthians 4:17 (“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”) offended me. I could not relate to the things I had endured as light. Another version of that scripture reads, “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” (NLT). I now appreciate and understand more deeply what this scripture is revealing. It is explained further in Hebrews 12:3-5, “For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Considering that Jesus gave up His life so that we could have life; and considering that nothing we have gone through has cost us our physical lives; yes, they are light afflictions (troubles). Also, Hebrews 12:2 gives us the perspective we must have when we are going through these “small troubles that won’t last very long.” We should be, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” There is a reward at the end – Jesus’ reward was the joy of redeeming humanity back to the Father; our reward that we shall receive is the “exceeding and eternal weight of glory that vastly outweighs them (the troubles) and will last forever.”
As we still consider Jesus and what He freely did for us, we can also embrace James 1:2-4, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” When we are pulled and pushed in various directions, or we find ourselves in trouble; we ought to remember that it is just our faith being tested and out of it we will gain patience, maturity, and wholeness. Another translation reads, “Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace].” (AMP).
There is nothing wasted in God! He takes all our experiences – the good, the bad, the ugly, the painful – and He uses them all for our good. “We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him.” Romans 8:28(a) (ERV). When we are in it, we cannot see our way out of it; however, we trust the One who has already gone before us and says it will work out. Another promise that our experiences produce much more than the momentary troubles we face is found in Romans 5:3-5, “And not only so (we not only rejoice in hope of the glory of God), but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” The Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) states, “And we are also happy with the troubles we have. Why are we happy with troubles? Because we know that these troubles make us more patient. And this patience is proof that we are strong. And this proof gives us hope. And this hope will never disappoint us. We know this because God has poured out His love to fill our hearts through the Holy Spirit He gave us.” Regardless of what we go through, God’s love will sustain us and our confidence in Him will not lead to disappointment. Therefore, we should not waste our experiences. We must learn every lesson from every experience so that we can grow, mature, and be all that Jesus died for us to be.
Christ died for us when we were unable to help ourselves. We were living against God, but at just the right time Christ died for us. Very few people will die to save the life of someone else, even if it is for a good person. Someone might be willing to die for an especially good person. But Christ died for us while we were still sinners, and by this God showed how much He loves us. Romans 5:6-8