Suffering is never on our to-do list. We don’t leave our homes in the morning saying, “I really hope I suffer today.” We are not looking for opportunities to suffer. We run from suffering and when we undergo suffering, it is painful and we usually appreciate when it ends.
Paul writes of the privilege of suffering. The privilege of suffering. This is a phrase that sounds like an oxymoron, but if you are in Christ, then you realize that Christ Jesus promises suffering would come. As His representatives, it’s guaranteed. It’s going to happen. It is a privilege because He has allowed us to be His representatives. It is a privilege because in the suffering we grow deeper in Christ. We grow in our love of God and others. We grow in our revelation of God.
Today, in whatever comes your way, embrace suffering. Thank God for the opportunity. Remember, it is a privilege.
“For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for Him.” – Philippians 1:29 [NLT]
Too many people still believe that if Christ is accepted, it means that from that time onward life is smooth sailing. If you are a Christian, everything is rainbows and butterflies. I think part of the blame for this ideology goes to those people in the past who were not transparent. So many people showed the world only what they wanted it to see, and they did not show that they were sinners, they suffered, they struggled—that things were not peachy.
We are all going through something right now. Everyone is suffering in some way. The world is not as God intended. It is broken and only when Christ returns will everything be restored and made new. There are people who are very open about their suffering, and there are other people who suffer in the dark.
Paul, Timothy, James, and Peter spoke of suffering. They understood that we share in the suffering of Christ. They understood that suffering could be used for God’s glory. Suffering produces endurance. Suffering is bad but God uses it for His good purpose. These great men understood that along with suffering, we also have a promise. As you and I continue to suffer today, remember this: “NOTHING (compares) to the glory he will reveal to us later.” Nothing!
“And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.” – Romans 8:17-18 [NLT]