“And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.” – Mark 8:31 (ESV)
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, 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 (ESV)
Jesus’ call to His servants is a call to suffer.
yes, suffer. unfortunately, this has not been a big topic of discussion within all churches.
Where other worldviews say that one should escape suffering (even many liberal Christian denominations preach this), a Christian’s call is to embrace. Don’t get the idea that we should go look for or create suffering, but when God does choose to allow hardships in our lives we are see His divine appointment of that suffering and choose to work through it and give God the glory no matter the outcome.
Easier said than done, right?
Well here’s a simple way to understand whether or not you are looking to embrace or elude suffering. are the things in which you participate a way to escape and guard yourself from suffering, or is your life lived in such a way that if suffering comes, you are equipped to see your way through it? If we are truly living life the way Jesus has called us to, then suffering will inevitably come. If we are loving the way He has told us to love, then we will suffer. If we are sacrificing the way He was told us to sacrifice, then we will suffer. If we are serving the way He was told us to serve, then we will suffer. Get the picture?
I’ve never been to a church where hardship and suffering were not a part of many people’s lives. Christ died to save us from the condemnation of sin and God’s wrath, not to deliver us from all earthly sufferings. False teachers preach a Gospel of pain-free living with Christ, and of course, if you are living through pain and suffering then you must not truly be trusting in Christ. How absurd is that!?!
So why would you want to embrace a faith that acknowledges suffering as a good thing? Because we see the glory of God fulfilled in suffering. Because when we are challenged with suffering, we grow in our faith and character. Because when we suffer, we see Jesus more and more and the suffering that he bared on the cross of Calvary.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” – Romans 8:18-25 (ESV)