Posted by: kathryngraves | May 11, 2012

To Know Jesus

“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” Philippians 3:10-11

The day I was diagnosed with cancer I cried. A lot. Not because I was afraid of dying, but because I didn’t want to suffer. I didn’t want to go through all the treatments because I vaguely understood it meant pain and loss. Boy, did it. But that aversion to suffering seem almost ludicrous now. I found the lump  over a year ago. One week later I had a biopsy and from that day to this I have not been without at least some physical discomfort directly related to my treatment. And then there is the emotional pain and the spiritual struggle that comes with protracted suffering.

So I finally began to understand Jesus’ sufferings, at least a tiny bit. I had long studied these verses in Philippians and truly desired to “know Jesus more.” But I guess, without realizing it, I didn’t want to get too close to Him. I wanted the power of the resurrection without joining the fellowship of His sufferings or being conformed to his death. But that’s not possible, of course. Only when we look death in the eye can we understand the power of the resurrection. And it is deep suffering that draws us close to Jesus Christ in a way nothing else can.

It’s sort of like the kinship I have with my friend, Lisa, who has suffered the loss of her husband and son. We share that experience of suffering, even though we’re going through very different circumstances. Our shared suffering journeys have caused our friendship to deepen into a new bond that will last forever.

I think when people glibly say – or sing – they want to know Jesus more . . . see His face . . . touch Him, they may not realize, as I didn’t, what they’re saying. To know Jesus, really know Him, requires suffering.

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