This time of year, we have a unique occasion—a celebration of suffering. It is both a solemn time and a joyous time, for we mark the terrible death and the glorious resurrection of Jesus, and we lift our hearts in thanks for the great, undeserved gift of salvation.

It is a unique celebration, for the rallying sign of our faith is an object of pain and death—the cross. The focus of countless hymns, pendants, paintings, and more is a plain wooden construction, rough, split with nails, and bloodstained. It is our holy sign now, not because it is special, but because the one who hung on it is.

Jesus went through such suffering, pain, and heartbreak that I cringe to even think about it. There is so much to be thankful for, more than we can even grasp, for the saving of our souls is an all-encompassing redemption, and we who accept Jesus’ sacrifice never walk alone. What a comfort! What a joy both now and forever!

Yet our comfort and joy came at a mighty cost for the Son of God. He wept tears of blood. He was betrayed, mocked, and beaten. Through pain and torment Jesus felt as if His Father had turned away from Him. It was truly horrific, and I shudder to think that He did it all for me. And for you.

Only God clothed in human flesh could turn such brutal suffering into a victory, into the victory of all time, into an unequaled celebration! For as we remember that Jesus died, we remember even more vibrantly His magnificent resurrection!

We are reminded each Easter that God works all things together for good to those who love Him 1, and that each of our ordinary and rough “crosses” can become beautiful expressions of His power, if we don’t give up 2. We may feel beaten and weary, but our suffering is also not without purpose. God is able to use it to help others 3, transform us, and change our world. And thankfully, our Lord never gives us more than we can endure with His help 4.

Easter is a time to say thank You to Jesus. Because we know the ultimate happy ending, today let us cherish the rugged cross, for it shall give way to an eternal crown!

  1. Romans 8:28
  2. Luke 9:23–24
  3. 2 Corinthians 1:4
  4. 1 Corinthians 10:13