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John 19

Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.

One book that had a big impact in my life is, Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck. I know some of you have read it, too.

I remember the first three words of the book.

“Life is difficult.”

Isn’t that the truth?

Life is hard.

I think of the life of the most emotionally healthy human being who ever lived, Jesus, and all you see is difficulty. From the beginning of his life to the end of his life, Jesus suffered. But what is even more amazing is how resilient he is. His capacity to suffer well is our model. We grow in maturity as we learn to suffer well. Or Endure Hardship Well.

Take Good Friday, for instance. Let’s consider some events of the day and how Jesus reacted.

  • Arranged for his mother to be cared for by John.
  • “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”
  • Engaged in relationship with the thief on the cross and acted like himself, playing the role of redeemer for him.
  • Endured the taunts and mocking of his enemies.
  • He let the Bible remind him how it was like him to act. Recited Psalm 22.
  • He remained relational with his Father throughout the pain. “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit!”

But, it isn’t just Jesus who learned to endure hardship well. Throughout the Bible, indeed in our own lives, we are privileged to be with those rare people who remain relational, act like themselves, return to joy, and endure hardship well. How do they do it?

Well, right away, get this out of your system. To endure hardship well is the culmination of a life of maturing. This isn’t quick and easy. It is a lifetime of emotional growth as we practice the uncommon habits and engrave them into our lives. To endure hardship well is really about maturity.

ME

Who was a strong influence for the good for you as a child?