The Pattern

By Francis Frangipane

Why does the Lord tolerate the grief and suffering that abounds on planet Earth? Jesus explained it this way. He said, "The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it" (Matt. 13:45-46).

The Lord’s parable reveals to us that God is not just sitting in Heaven, He is actually looking for something valuable, something costly, on Earth. Yes, the Father found one pearl of great price in His Son, Jesus Christ. But there is something else the Father seeks, and that is the replication of His Son in us.

Romans 8:29 reveals our Father’s glorious purpose: He has "predestined [us] to become conformed to the image of His Son."

Paul wrote that “we are a fragrance of Christ to God” (2 Cor. 2:15). Amazing. Even when I face injustice or suffer persecution or pain, if I make my sorrows a place of worship, my life becomes “a fragrance of Christ to God.” The life of Christ flooded the Father's heart with pleasure. So also when we pass through a time of testing or injustice, our sorrow sweetens our worship, again touching the Father's heart.

Of course, God doesn’t cause pain. However, He will use the inevitable pain and heartache of life on Earth to conform us to His Son. Jesus, Himself, was a man “of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3). The Lord recognized part of His growth would include maintaining a forgiving heart even in times of pain and suffering.

Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24).

I’m absolutely convinced that the majority of our Lord’s life was full of joy. Scripture even tells of times when Jesus leaped for joy. He danced! Yet there were other times when He sweat blood and walked the path of Via Dolorosa (Way of Suffering).

You, my friends, have chosen to follow Jesus. I am saying that you, and people like you, are the reason God created mankind. You see, Christ is not only the payment for our sins, He is the pattern for our lives.