For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. (Hebrews 2:10 ESV)
I want there to be another way. I believe that God is good and still don’t understand why the best things in life seem to come through suffering. The verse above is clear. Jesus would not have been the perfect human if he had not suffered. He would not have been complete. He would have missed something.
I want to miss suffering and I don’t think I’m unusual. I knew that there was going to be some pain and suffering because of my latest surgery. I had great confidence that the result would be a significant improvement, but it took me five years to schedule the surgery. The only reason I scheduled the surgery was that the pain of daily living had increased to the point that I could see the benefit of going through the surgery and recovery.
I think we approach most of life this way. Maturity is the ability to look beyond the immediate to see the benefit of doing the hard thing.
For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:18 ESV)
It is difficult, if not impossible, to comprehend the temptation that Jesus experienced. Eating cookies is not a sin, but provide a good example. My wife bakes a batch of cookies and the smell fills the house. There they are stacked on the cooling racks in the kitchen. I want to eat one. Truthfully, I want to eat many more than one. There is a temptation to pick up a cookie every time I walk through the kitchen. The temptation creates a mild form of suffering. I’m being denied something I want. There is an easy way to eliminate the temptation. Eat a cookie.
The real temptations in my life are much more significant that the desire to eat a cookie. In every case there is a way to make the temptation go away. All I must do is give in. Jesus never gave in. I can’t imagine how the pressure must have grown. Think about the cookies again. My desire and the suffering from not satisfying the desire grow every time I walk by the cookies. Fortunately, eating cookies is not a sin.
If eating cookies was a sin I would need help. Help could take many forms, but leave me alone in the house with a counter covered with cookies and I’m going to eat one, or more. This is where Jesus presence and experience become real. Whatever sinful desire I’m experiencing, He has experienced and resisted. He understands and is able to help. I can look to Jesus’ example and know that it is possible to see beyond the immediate and continue resisting the temptation.