We use the word passion to describe a lot of things in our world today. That thing that excites and inspires us even if we aren’t getting paid to do it. That burning feeling we feel for someone who delights us romantically. That strong desire we have for something that seems indescribable.

Yet, the etymology of this frequently used word is strikingly different than how we use it today. The word passion originated from the Latin word that means to suffer, or in biblical terms, to endure suffering. Hence why this week is commonly referred to as Passion Week. Also called Holy Week, this week between Palm Sunday and Easter is recognized by Christians around the world to honor Jesus Christ’s ultimate sacrifice and triumph over death.

As I reflect on the culmination of this Lenten season, acknowledging the significance of our Savior’s final days on Earth, I feel the tension of this season. Just as there is a dichotomy that exists between the word that is used to describe this sacred week and how we use the word today, there is a dichotomy between the feelings that this time period evokes. On one hand, as a Christ follower, I am called to feel the heaviness of my Savior’s final days as He was subject to betrayal, persecution, and ultimately intense suffering. However, I’m also excited, joyful, and hopeful because I know this story ends with Good News. He has risen!

There was pain and anguish, but there was also a celebration of life. There was suffering, but there were also miracles. There was sadness, but there was also joy. There was a crucifixion, but there was also a Resurrection.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but bask in the joy of this season. I’m extremely grateful that my deliverance is not based on anything I did, but rather on what He did. I’m delighting and rejoicing in the fact I am His, and because I am His, I am saved and will have eternal life in His Kingdom. That is the type of joy that supersedes any and all circumstances here on Earth.

Someone reading this blog may be feeling a different type of tension. If you are currently not just feeling the heaviness of Christ’s sufferings, but of your own, I’d like to encourage you. First, you are not alone in your suffering. One of God’s many promises was that He will never leave you or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:8). He is right there with you in your suffering.

Secondly, if you are reading this message it means that you are still living. And if you are still living, that means that God is not finished with your story. He has you here for a purpose and He has good plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11).

Lastly, know that even your pain is purposeful. Just as Christ’s suffering had a purpose, so does yours. Romans 5:3-5 tells us that we can rejoice in our trials and sufferings because they build endurance, which then produces spiritual maturity and character, which in turn strengthens our hope and confident assurance of salvation. He promises that this hope will not disappoint us, and God can indeed be trusted to keep His promises.

Because our Savior Jesus Christ has suffered, He knows all about suffering and can comfort you through whatever you’re going through. He sees every tear, hears every groan, and understands every disappointment. This season will not last forever. Trust in Him, and He will renew your strength and restore your joy.

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