"But it was the Lord's good plan to crush him and cause him grief" Isaiah 53:10 (NLT)
This verse rocked my Easter world this past weekend. It was God's "good plan" to crush Jesus and to cause him grief. Not, "it was God's good plan to have Jesus show us how to live and then we'll all worship Jesus because Jesus is so great." No, God's good plan for his only son was NOT for him to have the whole world, but rather to "crush him and cause him grief" so he could save the whole world. This gives a whole new meaning to the Christian cliche "God is good!"
Jesus said that "unless a kernal of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies it produces many seeds" (John 12:24). I think he was really serious when he said that if we want to follow him, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross (remember, a form of death) and follow him. Are you carrying your cross? Are you sacrificing for others?
God doesn't want to crush us and cause us grief for no reason, though. Here's what Isaiah 53 goes on to say in verse 11: "When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins."
God wants us to die to ourselves SO THAT we can bring life to others. If you're suffering for stupidity, that's a whole other discussion. But, if you are sacrificing yourself or your time or your money for others, take heart and wait for the Lord. When you see what is accomplished by your anguish, you will be satisfied.
Let us accept suffering and hardship as a means to bless other people, for this is God's good plan.