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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Sharp (03/07/13)

TITLE: Why Did Jesus Do It?
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom


Today has been a horrible day. I want to crawl in bed and pull the covers over me head. But then it's okay to get discouraged now and then, right?

After all who, better than Jesus, knows what it feels like to be discouraged and feel deserted? I used to wonder why Jesus yelled those words on the cross, "My Lord, my Lord why hast thou forsaken me?" Did he really believe God had left him--forsaken him? I think for a just a minute he did feel that despair, and he had inside information! Really, think about it. His friends had betrayed him and scattered. He had been mocked and humiliated, not to mention the agony that he endured. He had to know that soon the pain would end, yet still he called out. Why?

Also, have you ever wondered why Mary, a young, unwed teen, was selected to be the mother of God? Everybody had to gossip like crazy back then. I remember the things said about me when I got pregnant at eighteen. Who better to understand that pain than the bastard child of the most famous teen mom ever?

So, not only do humans understand those feelings of despair, loneliness, and pain, but Jesus knows what those emotions feel like firsthand. He doubted for just a minute, maybe two--not because he was weak, or a bad person, but because he was human. He could have come in many forms or many different ways, yet still he came into the world as a bastard.

He experienced the temptations in the wilderness because he wanted us to know he understands temptation. Personally, I would have waved my hand and sent Satan hurtling off the cliff the first time he irked me, but Jesus endured forty days of it. Why?

Last month, I was admitted to the hospital on Ash Wednesday. I found it interesting because Lent typically reminds us of the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness before beginning his public ministry. I only spent seven days of being poked, prodded, in pain, miserable, hungry, tired, and grumpy. Jesus experienced all of those same feelings, only about a hundred times more intensely.

Now, almost a month later, I'm still weak, hurting, tired, and grumpy. Imagine how Jesus must have felt after forty days of anguish? His body had to be malnourished, covered with scrapes and bruises. I don't imagine he slept well with bugs biting him and the devil poking him. Yet...look at how he endured the torture.

I tell people that it takes at least three days to recover for every one day of being in the hospital. You wouldn't believe how many times someone has made a stupid comment like, "Oh you're coming back to the hospital for another vacation?" Then another one I hear is, “You just got out of the hospital, you should be all rested up." The truth is it's hard to be poked with needles everyday. I have horrible veins and thick, tough alligator hide. I've been poked as many as thirty-three times for one IV. Nurses have literally bent needles trying to get through my skin. I laugh now, because we all know writers have to have thick skin and God literally gave me thick skin. Figuratively, however, it's paper thin.

So I can only imagine, if I still feel this yucky, Jesus must have entered the beginning of his ministry in pretty bad shape, both physically and emotionally. He probably felt run-down, malnourished, tired, and likely just a tad irksome because he knew he had a rough time ahead of him. Instead of heading off to a resort were he could have been fed the finest meals, had massages to prepare his muscles, lifted weights to get strong enough to increase his stamina, instead he went to the desert to pray. But also, he went knowing that he would be tortured by the first creature who betrayed him, way back in the beginning.

I think of some of the people who have let me down me in the past and how much those betrayals hurt me. Why did Jesus do it?

As I lay in my bed, sobbing and feeling sorry for myself, he whispered the answer into my ear. “I did it for you, my child, I did it for you.”

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This article has been read 479 times
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C D Swanson 03/14/13
I am so sorry for the incosiderate remarks people have made, most times it's just being ignorant of "what to say or do."

This was a beautiful commentary and testimony concerning our Savior, and your afflictions. Thank you for sharing, and my prayers and heart go out to you.

May God keep you and Bless you always~
Bonnie Bowden 03/15/13
People can be both ignorant and insensitive, but I'm glad you went to the One who is neither.

Well written.
Dannie Hawley 03/15/13
This is a powerful way to demonstrate one of the most important messages of the Gospel: Jesus understood that what the Father had asked him to do would fulfill His mission on earth, regardless of how painful it could be at times. The great love Jesus had for us sustained Him, as much as comforted Jesus that it was necesssary. Jesus made no secret of the fact that it wasn't what he had wanted to do, but that Jesus would obey, trusting the Father that it was, indeed, necessary. Your own transparency is also an example of the way Jesus handled the difficult times; Jesus never hid the hurt He felt. Thanks for sharing!
Christina Banks 03/18/13
I think it is so wonderful that the God of all understands us so well because he was made flesh just like us. I really think you nailed it when you spoke of how Jesus really did feel that despair. Thank you for sharing a bit of your heart as you recover, and I do pray that you recover quickly.
Cheryl Harrison03/18/13
I'm right there with you on the IVs. It is so painful when your veins don't cooperate. They even brought in some kind of a machine with a blue light to see if they could find a good vein. When they still couldn't find one they discussed putting in a pic line. But God sent an angel of a nurse down from the emergency room. She worked miracles and found a vein. When she inserted the final IV, I didn't feel a thing. It was a much needed reprieve from the pain. God bless that nurse!

Anyway... sorry you are still not feeling well. I will continue to pray for you.

Plus, the lesson in your article is spot on ... Jesus joyfully endured the suffering of the cross for us. Praise the Lord!

Keep writing. God Bless.
Virgil Youngblood 03/18/13
Shann, when Jesus said "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me" he was quoted the opening verse of Psalm 22. If I said, "For God so loved the world he gave ..." you would, no doubt, recognize and remember (John 3:16). Those Jews who heard Jesus cry out would, in similar fashion, remember the rest of Psalm 22. It is a song of despair being overcome by victory. While we might think he was crying out in hopelessness, he was announcing victory. Those that knew that Psalm would have understood it that way. That's a neat insight that I learned this week. May you find victory over the daily travails of your life and know that you are loved.
Alicia Renkema03/19/13
Oh Sister, I know how horrible chronic pain can be and yet we all bear such different "crosses." I echo Virgil's wonderful words, Psalm 22 was Jesus's way of remembering that this was not the end but rather the beginning, vs. 30 and 31 read,"A posterity shall serve Him. It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation, They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, that He has done this." He knew His victory was right around the corner as is yours. I am so glad that you could hear amidst your pain the Lord whisper in your ear, "I did it for you my child." Thank you for this very transparent piece from your heart. It blesses mine and prompts me to pray for you and others with chronic pain even more. Thanks be to our glorious Lord for walking the often lonesome valley with us.
Judith Gayle Smith03/19/13
Wow. Shann - you have my heart and prayers. Chronic pain I know, understand and experience.

You made Jesus so real in His humanity - it is too easy to emphasize on the Spiritual reality of the Christ and forget how He truly suffered for us. What an example He is. But we have more proffered comfort than He did at Cavalry - when we are in agony, we can hurl ourselves upon Him, let him enfold us in His empathetic arms - and rest in Him.

Shann - I love you. You are an example to me, and your comments are so greatly appreciated - especially knowing that you struggle with me . . .
Ellen Carr 03/19/13
Thank you for being so brave in sharing your own story and feelings, as well as relating it to what our Lord went through. May the Lord bless you, encourage you and bring you healing.
Myrna Noyes03/19/13
What an honest and inspiring piece! You wrote from the heart, and that is always a blessing! Your insights into how Jesus suffered are drawn from your own experience of suffering, and that gives them an authoritative "ring." Thank you for sharing this with us!
Danielle King 03/20/13
In my humble opinion, writers have to be thick skinned and nurses have no right to be. You've been there, on the other side of the fence nursing others, and I'm sure you will have been more sensitive to patients feelings. When you're down and fatigued, even the slightest remarks can hurt. This is a powerful piece and you've done well in portraying your message by likening your own experience of physical suffering to the agonising suffering of Jesus. I really love the perfect way you've brought it to a close. A grande job
Danielle King 03/20/13
Did you see that comment above leap away from me before I had chance to knock that silly 'e' off grand?
Barbara Caldwell10/26/13
This is a powerful reminder that no matter what we go through, it can't compare with the pain and suffering that Jesus endured for us. You did a wonderful job with this.