As I’ve said before, no one has ever approached me and asked me to pray for them to suffer more for Jesus. The truth is that the reality of suffering is not something for which we must solicit Heaven.
Personally, I don’t like suffering. I dislike it, even more, when my children are hurting. I’m not a fan of pain, whether it be physical, mental, or emotional. Whatever adjective you could use to describe it, I’m not a fan!
I presume you don’t like pain and suffering either. That’s okay. You don’t have to like it. If you do like pain and suffering, that’s a disorder for which I’m not equipped to help you.
So let’s talk about our call to pain and suffering. Jesus, my Redeemer, is known as The Suffering Servant. His pain and suffering were aptly prophesied by Isaiah, observed by His Apostles, and wrote about throughout the New Testament.
Christians don’t have any problem believing Christ’s call to suffer. However, many fail to make any room in their theology for personal suffering. Whether we like it or not, we are all called to be suffering servants of Jesus Christ.
Let me demonstrate what could be Heaven’s most unpopular doctrine of Scripture. I won’t type every word of the following references, but I’ll include hyperlinks to open in a new window for your review.
- In Matthew 16:21, Jesus foretold of His own soon to come suffering, death, and death-defying resurrection. He was called to suffer.
- Acts 9:16 contains the word of the Lord to Ananias regarding the future suffering of Saul of Tarsus, who would soon become Paul the Apostle. Paul was called to suffer.
- While in the city of Thessalonica, Acts 17:3 tells us that Paul preached Christ and the necessity of His suffering. Paul knew that he and Jesus were called to suffer.
- In a direct letter to his son in the faith, we find in 2 Timothy 3:12 that Paul told Timothy that these last days meant suffering for us all. Paul understood that we are all called to suffer as a result of our godly living.
- Through his types and shadows teaching, the writer of Hebrews reminded us in 13:12 that Jesus suffered that we might be sanctified. Yet, to be and live sanctified does not exempt us from times of suffering.
- Even the Apostle Peter understood this plain principle. In 1 Peter 2:21, he bluntly stated that suffering is our call as we walk in our Savior’s steps. Peter was called to suffer.
- Finally, in 1 Peter 5:10, God reveals that suffering is a part of His end-game to strengthen and establish you. You have been called to suffer.
Jesus suffered. So did Paul and Peter. You will too. And in this, you can learn to rejoice.
Consider this Jesus phrase from John 6:6, “for He Himself knew what He would do.” It is comforting to know that Jesus always knows what He will do. In the face of great need, in the midst of our tests and trials, we can know by faith that we have been set up to pass and receive from Jehovah Jireh, The Lord who will see to it.
I’m not asking God for more suffering. And I’m not praying for you to experience pain and suffering either. However, I can testify that He has redeemed and used every ounce of suffering that I have given to Him and patiently endured.
Be encouraged. Anyone signing up for the Kingdom of God has to go through plenty of hard times (see Acts 14:22). The powerful grace of God is on your side, and you too can make it.
Is this your story too? Are you presently going through a season of suffering? How can I pray for you this week?