The Lord is worthy of all praise, at all times and in all circumstances. There is, therefore, no circumstance of suffering that is not a suitable occasion for praising our great God. Romans 8:18 declares, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed to us.” As Jesus endured the sufferings of the cross because of the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2), so we are not to elevate suffering above its place but are to fix our eyes on heaven (Colossians 3:1-2). But neither are we to miss the purpose of suffering in our lives. Consider that suffering gives us fellowship with Jesus.
CONSIDER THAT JESUS SUFFERED
Jesus was sent from heaven to earth, into our world because it was necessary for Him to suffer. His mission required suffering and this world is the only place in the universe where suffering exists. He shared in our suffering so that, as we suffer, we can now share in His sufferings.
There is great suffering in the book of Job, and at that point in redemptive history, there was no evidence that God understood our suffering. God remained aloof, divinely removed from and above our suffering, and so the perception was that we suffered alone. Man suffered, and God observed, remote, stoic, and ready to judge. The impression was that suffering was a punishment for sin and where there was great suffering, there must, necessarily, be great sin.
But now Jesus Christ has suffered, and so suffering has now become a divine activity. Now through suffering we, who belong to Jesus, share in the fellowship of His sufferings (Philippians 3:10). Thus, suffering is now an ennobled privilege. What formerly was a pointless product of the fall has now, through Christ, been transformed into a spiritual discipline. Now, we who suffer as guilty victims of Adam’s sin, can know, through our suffering, joyous fellowship with Him who suffered to vanquish our sin.
A WINDOW OF FELLOWSHIP
So then, in Christ, a window of fellowship has been opened, for Christ the sinless one has taken on flesh and blood (John 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 2:14-15) so that He could suffer with us. Since the Holy One has suffered, those who call upon His name now suffer as a holy activity. Because of Christ, the suffering that formerly was miserable and meaningless has been transformed into a means of sanctification. Christ my Lord has suffered, and now I suffer. Hallelujah!
SDG rmb 5/13/2021