“But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter [4:13]
What’s the last thing that caused you to rejoice? Whether it was a birthday party, graduation, or promotion, I’m guessing it wasn’t suffering. I didn’t rejoice the last time I hit my thumb with a hammer or cut it open with a utility knife.
We don’t rejoice in most suffering, because most suffering doesn’t gain us anything useful. Instead of gaining us something, suffering is often the product of carelessness or sinfulness. Most suffering is self-inflicted wounds, but there is a type of suffering that is better.
We get a small taste of better suffering when we exercise, when you hit the runner’s high, or feel the pleasant soreness of a good workout. We lean into this suffering, because we know it gains us something.
So, too, do the sufferings of Christ. His suffering on our behalf paid the penalty for our sin and gave us freedom. It gave us new life. And now, living as His people, there will be times when we suffer, that others might know the hope He has given us. That suffering is cause for joy, because it helps us understand God’s love for us, and gives us more cause to rejoice when His glory is revealed.
We tend to hide from suffering, but we must not hide from good suffering. There is such a thing as suffering that leads to joy.
Jesus, thank You for suffering for me. Teach me to live a life of joy that shares in Your suffering. Amen.
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