The cross recognized the value in suffering. Some Christians have taught that faithful followers should always be physically healed if they pray hard enough. They have proclaimed, “if you had enough faith you would be healed.” Proponents of the “prosperity gospel” claimed that authentically turning one’s life to Jesus immediately resulted in abundant health and financial blessings. The idea remains that believers should never be poor or experience sickness. Paul surrendered his life to Jesus, and although the Lord restored his vision, the apostle nevertheless had a number of years of pain (2 Cor. 10-13). Yet, it was not for lack of faith (2 Cor. 12:7-9) on his part. In addition, the thief on the cross beside Jesus received freedom from eternal punishment. Jesus pronounced, “today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43, NIV); however, the offender still experienced much suffering after he surrendered his life. He hung on the cross for a several hours after the soldiers broke his legs. The sovereign Lord could have rescinded him from the cross and removed his suffering the moment he submitted, yet this comeback never occurred.
God wants to move your life forward so that you return to giving one hundred percent to the people you care about in your life, family, and church.
Again Paul articulated, “to keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times, I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” (2 Cor. 12:7, NIV). Paul also uttered, “be … patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Rom 12:12, NIV). Obviously, the apostle experienced both suffering and resurrection in his ministry and life. The power of the cross accepts meaning in both suffering and healing.