Rebuking the Process Jesus Promised?


None of us like the idea of pain and suffering - apart from maybe a select few (hands up, I'm not one of them). So when we're faced by pain/suffering being inflicted on us or our loved ones, we're quick to reject it, praying and saying it away.


Peter was faced by a situation just like this. Jesus had just told him about the rejection, suffering and death he would soon endure. Put yourself in Peter's shoes for a minute. His Saviour, Confidant and Friend. The One he admired. The One who'd helped him step and think beyond his natural abilities. This Person he loved so deeply and wanted no time away from was pretty much serving him notice that He was going away. Not just on a trip abroad, or to preach temporarily elsewhere. But to travel a road heavy with suffering and pain - followed by a promise that He'd return (see Mark 8:31-33).


Peter didn't want this for Jesus, so he tried to persuade Him otherwise. Like many of us, he wanted to protect his day one from suffering. But how did Jesus respond to Peter's well-intentioned attempts? By correcting him and showing him that this suffering was a necessary part of a much bigger picture (something Peter came to know personally too when Jesus warned about Peter's own death that would come against his own wishes - John 21:18). If Jesus didn't endure suffering, rejection and death, then there'd be no platform for resurrection. It was a necessary path to reconcile us back to God. But we only see that now with the benefit of hindsight.


Pain is sometimes part of a much bigger process and picture. We see it in the pains that come with weight-lifting and fitness (which results in better health and greater strength). We see it in the pains that come with studying and Academia (which results in better academic results). And even in terms of our physical health - some pains exist to warn us to take better care of our bodies (for example, dehydration related headaches). Other physical pains exist to confirm that our bodies are doing what they're supposed to (e.g. it might hurt to hear a loud screeching sound, but that pain confirms that your hearing actually works).


All things considered, there's a place for us as God's children to pray and speak against certain pains and sufferings (that's not the point of this post). But sometimes, we need to take a step back and check whether we're praying and speaking against pains that exist to serve us. So before we "rebuke" that suffering and pain or cancel that debt "in Jesus' name", let's take a step back and self-assess. Am I resisting something that's part of a much bigger picture (e.g. our call to die to self daily, which our flesh simply detests)? Is this a pain that actually confirms things are working as they ought to (e.g. the physical pain felt in the arms after lifting something heavy)? Is this a pain to warn me from repeating unhelpful or unwise behaviour (e.g. facing the dreaded debt reminders after spending beyond what's affordable)?

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