THE PRIVILEGE OF SUFFERING (Phil 1:29)
“He began to teach them that the Son of Man had to suffer much, be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, be put to death, and rise three days later. He said these things quite openly.” –Mark 8:31-32
Jesus is very open about the fact that we will have to suffer and bear our “share of the hardship which the gospel entails” (2 Tm 1:8). He bluntly states that we who follow Him must deny ourselves and take up the cross (Mk 8:34). Suffering is the way of salvation, necessary for the completion of God’s plan of salvation. We fill up in our own flesh “what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of His body, the Church” (Col 1:24).
This does not mean that all suffering is God’s will. Jesus repeatedly takes people out of suffering by healing and delivering them. Every hospital, doctor’s office, and social service agency exists to alleviate suffering. Yet some sufferings are in the pattern of Jesus’ death (Phil 3:10). These we should not relieve but accept as our sharing in the sufferings of Christ.
“See to it none of you suffers for being a murderer, a thief, a malefactor, or a destroyer of another’s rights. If anyone suffers for being a Christian, however, he ought not to be ashamed. He should rather glorify God in virtue of that name” (1 Pt 4:15-16).
PRAYER: King Jesus, may I be found worthy of Your kingdom and suffer for it (2 Thes 1:5).
PROMISE: “The Lord God is my Help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame.” –Is 50:7
PRAISE: Praise be to the risen Jesus, Whose Word rouses the weary! (Is 50:4)