Woe Is Me

"Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies."  2 Corinthians 4:10

Woe is me!

We hear it every day in America as many, many folks gravitate towards being a victim of circumstance, though it is usually of their own making.  They tend to believe that the government—or someone—should immediately come to their rescue and eliminate any and all suffering.  It's not the "American way," not what they "signed up for."  They seem to think that suffering shouldn't exist, and certainly not in their world.

News flash:  The Holy Bible says something different, something very different.

As we enter the time in which we celebrate the ultimate suffering in Jesus' sacrifice of His life for each and every one of ours, let us examine the beauty, necessity, and privilege—yes, privilege— of suffering for Jesus.  Without suffering, the life of Jesus cannot be evident in you and in me.  We would be spoiled, rotten, and not useful for any good thing.  But that's not to say that all suffering is godly.

1 Peter 2:20 lovingly reminds us, "Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you."

It is only in becoming fellow sufferers with Christ through the fellowship of His suffering that we are able to be conformed to His image.  Philippians 3:10-11 tells us, "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead."

Further, our faith is tried, tested, and proven through suffering.  "These trials are only to test your faith, to see whether or not it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests gold and purifies it—and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold; so if your faith remains strong after being tried in the test tube of fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day of his return." 1 Peter 1:7

Suffering is an honor and a privilege when it occurs for the cause of Christ.  "For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him." Philippians 1:29

Romans 8:17 tells us, "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." 

This does not mean that we will find suffering to be pleasant.  Otherwise, it wouldn't be suffering, now would it?  But we can find joy in times of suffering if we keep an eternal perspective.  1 Peter 4:12-14 encourages us with these words, "Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.  If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you."

Romans 8:23 speaks to the eternal perspective, as well, prompting us to remember where we are when it says, "And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us." Romans 8:23

And in understanding us as only a perfect and loving Heavenly Father can, He encourages us, that we will share in His comfort as well as His suffering.

"We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us." 2 Corinthians 1:7

Are you ready to suffer?

"Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus." 2 Timothy 2:3

"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For 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 4:16-18

Goodnight, Runners.


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