I have often felt like Christians are afraid to look real life in the face. Hard times fall upon us, and we look away, not wanting to acknowledge that God might let us wade through the waters instead of pulling us from every flood that comes our way. Avoidance is an understandable but futile desire. Pain will find us. Hope will at time seem fleeting. Before there can be resurrection, there must be a day of crucifixion and a day of despair.
I appreciate N.T. Wright's wisdom in Socrates in the City
"The closer you get to Jesus, the closer you get to the Cross; and you may well find that the pain of the world, as well as the joys of the world, will stretch you and pull you until you feel as though you were being pulled apart. Saint Paul says that's precisely the point: that's what we should expect to happen when the Holy Spirit is at work in someone's heart so that they are being 'conformed to the image of God's Son.' That is the meaning of fully Christian prayer. Part of the Christian calling is to be a person and a community where the pain of the world and the pain of God can come together."These pains cannot meet unless they are both embraced. May we, the people of a suffering and resurrected God, be ready to share in the fellowship of his suffering, and not just the power of his resurrection.