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Monday, January 15, 2007

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Hebrews 5:1-10
Psalm 110
Mark 2:18-22

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the school of suffering

"He learned obedience from what He suffered." —Hebrews 5:8

What a gift suffering can be! You may be unable to perform physical or mental feats, but you are always able to suffer. Everyone can suffer. Contrary to the "wisdom" of the culture of death, suffering has great value. When everything goes perfectly for you, it's not hard to obey. You are being blessed and rewarded for your obedience. "What merit is there in that?" (Mt 5:46) Even Satan commented on this when Job was blessed with prosperity, saying "Is it for nothing that Job is God-fearing? Have You not surrounded Him and His family and all that He has with Your protection? You have blessed the work of his hands" (Jb 1:9-10).

When we can obey God as we suffer, that is a grace in us (see 1 Pt 4:13-14). This is a tremendous witness to others of our belief in the absolute lordship of Jesus. We actually learn obedience from suffering (Heb 5:8). Suffering has such great power that Jesus chose to redeem us through suffering rather than through His teaching and miracles.

God Himself didn't create suffering, but He allows it for greater purposes. Jesus removes much unnecessary suffering through healings and miracles, but those sufferings He allows we can offer redemptively on behalf of His body (see Col 1:24). It is our joy and privilege to suffer redemptively (Phil 1:29). Through your redemptive suffering, teach a hurting world to obey God.

Prayer:  Father, "I consider the sufferings of the present to be as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed in us" (Rm 8:18). May I learn to obey You through my redemptive suffering.

Promise:  Jesus "became the Source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him." —Heb 5:9

Praise:  Elizabeth takes on penitential sufferings in reparation for those who are not yet learning from their own sufferings.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 13, 2006

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