I suppose one of the biggest tests of how selfish we are is how we respond in times of misery. When we are suffering, when we are going through trials, where is our focus? Is it on us? That would only be human, I suppose. To wallow in self-pity. To ask, “Why me?” To ask, “How long will I have to suffer like this?”
But from everything we see of Jesus on the cross, his focus was still more on others than on himself. We saw it with the thief on the cross. We saw it in his intercession for those who persecuted him. And we see it here in this scene with his mother.
Here is his mother, weeping at the foot of the cross. Her firstborn is dying a horrible death. Apparently, her other children are not even there. We’ve seen in the past how they thought Jesus was out of his mind (Mark 3:21). Perhaps they were embarrassed by him and thought he had brought dishonor on the family by his crucifixion.
And so from a family standpoint, Mary stood alone. Her other children would be of little comfort to her. And so when Jesus saw the disciple he loved (probably John himself) standing by her, he said to his mother,
Dear woman, here is your son. (26)
And to John, he said,
Here is your mother. (27)
From that time on, John took Mary into his home.
Jesus had every right to focus solely on his suffering. He was innocent. He deserved none of what he went through. And yet, he continued to focus on and care for others.
How about you?
One of the most remarkable women I have ever met was the wife of one of my pastors. She was one of the most caring people I have ever met. And that continued even to her death. She went to be with the Lord a couple of years ago, a victim of cancer. But even though at the end, she was forced to stay in bed and to be cared for by others, she didn’t wallow in self-pity. To the end, she was still trying to minister, even to the person who had been hired to care for her.
This is not to say that she was perfect. I’m sure she went through times of depression. But her focus never stayed inward. And in that, she was a picture of our Savior.
What struggles are you going through? What problems? What trials? As you go through them, where is your focus? Is it solely on yourself? Or can you see beyond your misery to see beyond yourself?
A heart that focuses on itself in times of misery stays in misery. A heart that can see beyond its misery to the needs of others rises above it. And ultimately finds joy.