From Jim O'Brien
April 12, 2019

Embrace the Pain

Hi Friend,

There is a philosophy that says avoiding pain is one of the central factors for motivating man. Some people say it is the prime reason we act or don't act.

That thought came to mind when I was on a flight that required a change of planes in Atlanta. People who have landed at Hartsfield International are often aware of the marathon taxiing that is required from certain runways. More than one passenger has remarked that the flight took less time than the taxi.

As we began our descent a lady on our flight was waiting in line for the Ladies Room just as the 'fasten seatbelt' sign came on. She was forced to return to her seat without completing her task. As chance would have it we landed on the runway furthest from the terminal and in the direction that placed us at the most distant point from the gate.

After taxing for several minutes the lady, in desperation jumped up from her seat and literally ran to the lavatory. "I'm sorry!" she yelled to the amusement of the passengers who all seemed to understand her plight.

The Flight Attendant phoned the pilot and then the 250 passengers witnessed something none of us had ever seen before: the plane stopped on the taxiway to wait for the lady to finish. This was followed by an announcement from the pilot that a passenger had to go to the restroom and they were not allowed to continue moving while a passenger was not in a seatbelt. After a minute or two the embarrassed passenger emerged from her place of solitary confinement and walked past a hundred fellow travellers-apologizing all the way before the plane could resume taxiing to its destination.

For a few minutes one lady's pain stopped a commercial airliner and held up the largest airport in America. Suffering may be an inevitable part of life but avoiding pain is built into our psyche.

All this is said to reinforce one of the essential characteristics of Passover-suffering. After Jesus was resurrected some of the disciples were walking on the road to Emmaus discussing the events of the previous few days. A stranger joined them on their walk.

Not recognizing that the stranger was Jesus, the men openly talked of their deep disappointment over the ignominious death of the one they believed to be the Messiah. The disciples were confused because they expected Jesus to restore Israel at that time. Then Jesus said to them, "Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" (Luke 24:26)

They expected immediate victory. The war had started and zealous Peter drew his sword attacking the Roman soldier-but he had misread the prophecies. Jesus could not be the Messiah without submitting to the sting.

Jesus could have escaped by just speaking a few words-commanding twelve legions of angels to intervene to stop the agony. But instead he embraced the pain. It had a purpose.

As many Christians prepare to celebrate the resurrection to life let us remember that without his death there could be no resurrection. Thank God for Passover.

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien