In just a couple of days, on so-called “Good Friday”, we’ll be remembering what Jesus did for us on that blood-drenched Cross – the price He paid, the sacrifice He made, so that we could be forgiven.

“Good Friday” is rather an odd name, don’t you think, for a day that commemorates Jesus’ brutal execution, nailed to a Cross to suffer and die in excruciating pain? But we call it “Good” because when we believe in what He did for us. You and I are forgiven for all that we’ve done against God; you and I are given a new life to live here on this earth; you and I are gifted an eternity in His Presence.

But maybe this Easter your own cross of suffering is weighing you down. And that pain has a way of blunting any joy that you might have over what this whole Easter thing – the painful death and powerful resurrection of Jesus – actually means. So, absolutely, you can and should rejoice in what Christ has done for you, but …

Romans 5:3-5 Not only that … we [also] rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (ESV)

Make no mistake, anyone who sets out to live their life following Jesus will suffer. But in that suffering – in your suffering – God is shaping your character to be more and more Christ-like, filling you with certain hope in Him and pouring His love into your heart by His Spirit. That’s good; very good.

And that’s God’s Word. Fresh … for you … today.

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