Suffering for Christ
“Jesus did not come to explain away suffering or remove it. He came to fill it with his presence.” Paul Claudel
Suffering is a topic that is near to my heart and one that I have not only addressed many times on this blog, but one that I wrote about many times in my book. It’s definitely not a topic that is new to the 21st century, but one that was addressed frequently all throughout scripture.
Suffering will look different for every believer in Jesus Christ, but the desired end result, when following Christ, should look the same. 1 Peter 4:12-13 in the message translation says, “Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.” Suffering, no matter what it looks like should be a “spiritual refining process” where “glory is just around the corner.”
1 Peter 4:16 says, “However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” Do not be surprised when you suffer, but follow the example that scripture sets before you. Instead of allowing shame to overwhelm you, praise God that he has given you the privilege to bear his name. Embrace the season he has you in and allow him to reveal himself to you and through you. And what will happen if you do? Glory will be revealed for all to see!
Don’t let your suffering isolate you, but allow God and a community of believers to walk through the journey with you. No matter what suffering looks like to you, whenever it comes your way, know that God is with you. It’s not only an opportunity to become more like Christ, but it’s an opportunity to know him more too.
Choose to praise God through the suffering. Don’t look at God through the lens of your suffering, but look at your suffering through the lens of God. Meditate on the scriptures below until you get a fresh revelation of what God wants to teach you in your suffering and know that at the end of your suffering you will be “mature and complete, not lacking anything.” The journey will be worth it and in the end, you will never, ever be the same!
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our suffering, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
“God, who shows you his kindness and who has called you through Christ Jesus to his eternal glory, will restore you, strengthen you, make you strong, and support you as you suffer for a little while.” 1 Peter 5:10
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18
“This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17–18