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Saturday, September 12, 2009

You Must Suffer

I will be the first to admit, the above title is not very appealing. Who wants to hear that they must suffer when suffering is taking place all around us nowadays? But the fact is, suffering is a part of life. My heart breaks when I hear about poverty, sickness, death, injustice and abuse of children and the elderly. It is no comfort to anyone who is suffering to tell them that their suffering is inevitable. Yet Jesus said, "... In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

Jesus spoke these words just before going into the garden of Gethsemane, not to relax and enjoy the beauty of His surroundings, but to experience the type of suffering we cannot even imagine. Yet He said "I have overcome." Jesus knew that glory awaited Him once His suffering was over. He knew that He would soon exchange the crowm of thorns the soldiers would put on His head for a crown of glory in heaven.

"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour (Hebrews 2:9).

So I could have titled this blog "We shall overcome", because we shall, but only if we endure. This seems impossible when we are under tremendous pressure and are barely surviving from day to day. Paul suffered a lot during his ministry but he said, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings ... (Phillipians 3:10).

So there you have it. Suffering for the Christian is inevitable. We don't enjoy suffering, but we endure it because we know that God will one day deliver us out of it and we will experience the joy that comes to those who have endured.
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