Suffering with Joy
Originally published in the Louisburg Herald; July, 15, 2009
For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. I Peter 2:19-20 (NIV)
We live in a world full of hurting and pain. If we look around, suffering is not hard to spot. We need only to visit a sick friend or watch the evening news to be reminded of suffering, if we should ever forget.
Suffering, in itself, seems to be a bad thing. Sometimes we suffer because of our own sin, sometimes we suffer because we live in a fallen world, and sometimes we suffer unjustly as did our Savior, Jesus Christ. In His own suffering, He deferred to the Father, saying, “Not my will, but thine be done.”
Following the model of Christ Jesus, we too can sing praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit when we face trials of various kinds. We don’t sing because we are not in pain–the pain is all too real. We sing because we know that our sufferings are not the end of the story. Just as Jesus faced suffering and is now glorified, our suffering is also followed by glory at the day of resurrection, for those who are in Christ. And whether our suffering is just or unjust, we can thank God for using our suffering to remind us who Jesus is, and who we are in Him.