Christ in Our Suffering
Updated: Sep 1, 2020
I strongly believe that Jesus equips a church to know him in reason, in experience, and faith. To not be ignorant in what we believe as the apostle Paul said “that I may know Him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Phil 3:10).
To know this power is to equally share His sufferings, because it is only in this world’s suffering where we meet His power.
We see this power displayed in the Gospel of Mark which has the word “immediately” about 40 times.
We see a ministry of action characterized by deeds of power.
Jesus doesn’t stop to teach, but he shows that the Kingdom of God is coming relentlessly, advancing with full power. Each miracle is not called “miracle” but, deeds of power in Greek (dunamis). Jesus shows over and over that the Gospel is the Power of God over the demonic world, over sickness, and this world’s suffering. This is the kind of power that has authority. However, when we get to Chapter 8 in the book of Mark, we see how Jesus begins to heal a blind man and it is as if the (dunamis) doesn’t work the first time.
Jesus asks the man, “Now do you see anything? He looked up and said, “I see people they look like trees walking around” (Mark 8:23). It was not until the second time of Jesus laying hands, that the man is healed. In the eight chapter of Mark, we see Jesus feed 5,000 people and then complete healing that did not display its power immediately. Why so?
I believe because Mark is trying to get our attention in this two step healing in the sense that our shift and perspective of (dunamis) will change. We find that there is more to Christ's power than what we see and think. Shortly after the display of his miracle in Chapter 8, Jesus starts talking about His crucifixion and death to His disciples.
Jesus starts by showing the disciples to think their “Messiah” is not just power in miracles, but the power that is found in suffering and surrender. The book of Mark beautifully displays the other side of Christ's power which is the way of the cross, to surrender, leading a life of submission to the Father just as Jesus did.
Since I can remember, my heart has always been restless, troubled by the thoughts of my mom leaving me when I was 5 years old and my dad who had left for a while too. My life was shaped with abandonment, not having that traditional family home which my heart always longed for. Then I came to this country always wrestling to make a living with my mom living in a shelter because we had nowhere to live. God found me in the midst of my brokenness and it is where He continues to encounter me and my pain every day.
I remember asking him “don’t you want me to be happy? In the stillness of a moment, I understood that His priority is not for me to be “happy” by the standards of this world, but to be fruitful. I couldn’t estimate the happiness that would come from being fruitful.
In my personal experience I have found that my pain wasn’t purposeless because it has always lead me to Him. The purpose of my pain was to discover my own mind-set, perspective, and behavior patterns that have been stumbling blocks, preventing me from obtaining all God’s promises for my life.
The gospel was and is a message of hope in the midst of my despair; not because Christ was going to solve all my problems in an instant (even if I desperately wanted this) but, because He promised me that His presence would be with me through all the troubled roads of life.
In my moments of pain, I’ve learned to know God as my Provider, Protector, and my Father. I’ve learned to have a greater dependency on Him and that He is trustworthy of every aspect in my life. This has been the truest display of His power in my suffering, "that I may know Him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Phil 3:10).
Karen Miranda is an evangelical Mexican born woman raised half of her life in Mexico and the other half in Los Angeles, CA. In May 2018 she graduated with a Bachelors in Biblical Studies from Life Pacific University. She currently works at a Bible Institute teaching in Spanish. She is also getting a Paralegal Studies Certificate for the near future to work as an immigration paralegal. Karen's areas of interest are: Majority World Christian theologies, especially Latin American Liberation theologies and Social Justice.
In her early years of education in Mexico, Karen's school was named after, “Sor Juana Inez de La Cruz” the first female theologian in Mexico. Throughout the decades a number of Latin American women have followed in her footsteps, defying stereotypes and socio-religious norms and dedicating their lives to the monumental task of theology. Little did she know that being in that school, her future would be to follow her steps. Karen has learned to do theology as an immigrant where you learn to live resilient in the struggle | en la lucha.
“She studies, and disputes, and teaches,
and thus she serves her Faith;
for how could God, who gave her reason,
want her ignorant?”
-Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz