Suffering takes on many forms, and for those of us who have placed our lives and trust in Jesus Christ, one thing is a guarantee, we will suffer. For each of us, in relative terms, we will suffer in individualized ways, but know this, the suffering that has and will come upon you is for the glory of God only when that suffering is expressed in that way, everyone on this planet that has ever been born has suffered in some way, shape, or form, but not all have done so for the glory of God.
Our Lord prayed in the garden for us the night they took Him, He was praying for every single one of those who call Him Lord, and He did not pray for us to be taken out of the world, but to protect us from the evil one. (John 17:15) With this truth, with this promise should come to each of us the undeniable knowledge that in whatever way we are suffering, that suffering has been either sent or allowed by Almighty God. This ends any possibility of those who continue to say that they do not understand why a loving God would allow suffering to enter into their lives, it is impossible for them to connect suffering with love. These are those that are either not saved, are deceived, or do not study the Scriptures and the truths that are contained within them, they believe a happy, carefree life is what the Lord desires for us, they believe wrongly that our Lord suffered horribly so that we would not have to.
If “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose,” (Romans 8:28) then these who believe such things have no ground to stand on, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Tim. 3:12) Then these have nothing but the ideologies of man to rebuke the truths of Scripture. Do we desire suffering, of course not, no one in their right mind would, do we complain when it arrives, of course we do, even after we have been commanded to “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.” (Phil. 2:14) It is the length of time that we protest that shows us our position in Christ, it is the amount of time between complaining and rejoicing (1 Thess. 5:16) that shows us our maturity in Christ, where we need to address our spiritual growth.
The path of suffering that the Lord has me on is more than likely not your path, though it may be, but herein also is where our understanding of the Word must come into play, suffering for Christ is not a one-time deal, it is enveloped throughout our entire walk with Him while we are on this planet. To those of my brothers and sisters who share just one of my sufferings you will understand quite fully, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matt. 5:6)
You and I both know that this suffering is permanent, at least in this life, it will never disappear until we get home. All we need to do is go outside and see the corruption of the fall, the earth groaning, the majority of the people on this planet serving themselves and their own interests, a world not concerned, not even thinking about righteousness, but about themselves. This thirst has led me to learn how to honor the Lord by hating evil, it has caused me to seek the High Tower that is my God, (Prov. 18:10) to stand nowhere but upon the Rock of my salvation, (Psalm 18:2) and it has brought a daily suffering to my soul in the knowledge that nearly everyone I meet is not on the narrow path. The physical pain most days I can endure with His strength, the hunger for righteousness, in a sense, I must bear alone, knowing that it will not be filled or abated until I get home.
The fellowship of the suffering of Christ (Phil. 3:10) all born-again believers know, each in our own ways, from the heavy heart to the scars on our bodies, each of us will suffer in some way for Him, and we should feel honored to be placed in such a position. Rejoice with me then my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the knowledge that one day soon our suffering will be one of the former things that will never again be brought to mind. (Rev. 21:4)