Learn to Love the Will of God More than You Hate Suffering

The Holiness of the Here and Now – Part 17

Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’”

–Matthew 26:31 (ESV)

Like Mary seeing Jesus on the cross, all faithful souls see beyond the steady parade of deaths, veils, shadows, and appearances, all of which try to make the will of God unrecognizable. They pursue this will, and love it, all the way to the death of the cross. They know that they must always leave the shadows to run after the divine sun. The clouds try to hide it, but no matter how thick and dark they are, this sun still enlightens, warms, and encourages their faithful hearts. From its rising to its going down, at every point of it mysterious course, they bless it, praise it, and contemplate it.

–Jean Pierre de Caussade

In Matthew 26:31, we see Jesus quoting Zechariah 13:7. But the way he quotes it reveals how he understands it. “I will strike the shepherd,” he said, and I meant God.

Isaiah 53:10 is another prophecy that Jesus must have understood in the same way. Imagine Jesus growing up, hearing Isaiah 53:10 read in the synagogue, and knowing it was about him: “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him.” Jesus knew this verse, and, by some point in his life, he knew what it was about. Yet he loved this “will of the Lord” more than anyone ever has. Here, no doubt, lies a deep mystery.

The lesson for you today, however, is clear. Life will throw everything it has at you to convince you that the will of God cannot be trusted, much less loved. Jesus thought otherwise. Be like him. Recognize the will of God when the universe tries to disguise it as random, senseless suffering, and, as Jean Pierre de Caussade urges us, “pursue this will, and love it, all the way to the death of the cross.”

The Holiness of the Here and Now is a daily devotional that I am currently working on. When I am finished, there will be 365 chapters like the one above. Meanwhile, I am sharing this work-in-progress. Like the Facebook page to see content like this in your feed.