REJOICING IN SUFFERING

Scripture Reading: Romans 8:18-25

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)

Paul is giving us the opportunity to consider the matter of suffering. He says that all the suffering of this present time pales to insignificance when we consider the glory that will be revealed to us one day. I want to take us to another level as we consider the subject of suffering. Christians can actually REJOICE in their sufferings! Let me point out two passages.

First, read I Peter 4:12-19. Let me focus on two of these verses — “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But REJOICE insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed”  (I Peter 4:12,13).  We can rejoice in our sufferings because we can share in a very small way with the sufferings Christ experienced for us. When we suffer, think of the horrific sufferings of Christ. We get to experience a tiny taste of what He suffered. And we can rejoice knowing that we will also share in His glory when He comes again.

The second passage is Romans 5:1-5. Pay close attention to verses three through five — “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.” We can rejoice in our sufferings because the sufferings we experience have purpose — they produce endurance, character and hope. This hope is hope in the glory to come. And we have God’s love to comfort us during times of suffering because we have the Holy Spirit living in us.

Lord God, when I am called to suffer, let me remember how much Christ suffered for me. Let me taste to a small degree what He experienced and let me rejoice that I can share in His sufferings. Also, let me learn from my times of suffering. May I grow in endurance, character and hope when I face difficulties, pain and suffering. Thank You that any suffering I experience has purpose — to test and to strengthen my faith.

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