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By Tomina Sharpe

As I have processed through the news this week of my dear friend Nancy’s worsening cancer, I have really been in turmoil. I know that in light of eternity it is not going to matter to me whether I lived on this earth 1 year or 100 years. The number of years that any of us has on this earth is completely up to God and His sovereign plan.  If God chooses now to take Nancy at the young age of 49, I can accept that as His plan, even though it is not what I or anyone else would choose.

What my mind has been in turmoil about and unable to accept has been seeing my friend’s pain and suffering and knowing the pain and suffering that her family is experiencing. Cancer is a horrendous disease that was never God’s intention for anyone to experience. Over the years I have seen this disease in action from afar. It has come closer to home for me recently as I have watched Nancy go through it and as I watched my grandfather die from it in February. Cancer is horrific and the pain goes on and on over long periods of time.

As I was thinking about this today, my mind went to the pain that Jesus suffered on the cross and I questioned for a while whether even Jesus suffered as much as I see those with cancer suffering. Jesus’ pain lasted a matter of days while those with cancer can suffer for years. I felt almost blasphemous even thinking the thought that someone else suffered more than Jesus. But then it hit me. The physical suffering that Jesus went through, while horrible, was nothing compared to the suffering that He went through when he took our sin upon Himself and the Father turned His back on Him.

We measure our life through the lens of time, but I don’t know that Jesus experienced this suffering within the framework of time. I cannot comprehend the suffering that my friend Nancy is going through and I pray I will never experience that suffering myself to understand it. But I know that nobody on this earth has ever experienced anything close to the suffering that Jesus felt on the cross when He took our sin upon Himself and the Father turned His back upon our Savior. This brings me to my knees before my Jesus and I can only weep at the love that He must have for me and for the whole world to willingly endure this.

As I see those around me that have suffering forced upon them through cancer or loss, I have to remember that Jesus didn’t have suffering forced upon Him. He chose it. He chose it out of love. Whatever suffering I may experience on this earth can only serve to remind me of the suffering that He experienced on my behalf. While I would never willingly choose to experience suffering such as my friend Nancy is experiencing, there is one joy that she is experiencing that I never may. She has a much more intimate knowledge of pain and suffering which gives her a deeper knowledge of the love that Jesus had in order to choose to suffer for us, a love so great that our minds will never be able to come close to wrapping around.

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride

See from His head, His hands, His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown

Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were an offering far too small

O, the wonderful cross
O, the wonderful cross
Bids me come and die and find
That I may truly live
O, the wonderful cross
O, the wonderful cross
All who gather here by grace
Draw near and bless Your name

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Turn your eyes upon Jesus

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by Jeff Foerster

Turn your eyes upon Jesus…

…and the things of earth will grow strangely dim.

From the beginning of the Bible to the end, it is all about Jesus and the wonderful love of the Father in Him. The Scriptures are soaked in pictures of Jesus the coming King, Messiah, Redeemer of the lost! He is the Seed that would crush Satan’s head. He’s pictured in Melchizedek, the priest of God Most High.

He’s foreshadowed in the account of Abraham and Isaac, his “one and only son”. Representing a type of Christ, Joseph, when in prison, alongside the baker (bread) and the cupbearer (wine) echoed beforehand the words of Jesus at the last supper, as Joseph asked them to, “Remember him”.

Mike this past Sunday led us in another look at Judges 11 and Jephthah’s sacrifice, once again bringing us back to the cross of Christ. Jesus is the Rock in the wilderness, struck and from whom flowed life-giving waters.

As the details of this life disappoint, use that gift to turn to Jesus. I urge you, I implore you, I beg of you; turn your eyes upon Jesus. As you become engrossed and enamored with God’s magnificent and abundant love for you, live the final lyrics of the song:

“Then go to a world that is dying,

His perfect salvation to tell!”

This is my hope for you. This is my only hope.

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