Will there be suffering?
Is there life? Do we live in this world? Will you suffer anxiety, worry, depression, angst, anger, frustration, and rage?
Will you suffer pain, hurt, torment, cancer, sickness, disease, anguish, and death?
Will you suffer forgetfulness, confusion, doubt, and disbelief?
Will you suffer?
I don’t have to explain all of life and all of mankind to you. You already know this. If you don’t know this, then you are blind and don’t see life around you. But the suffering here that Paul is talking about is not the kind of suffering that comes with the effects of sin for if that was the case, then all would be glorified with Christ our Lord. Christ himself said that would not be the case.1
So what is this suffering that Paul speaks of? Is he referring to when Jesus said: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Also, when He said, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”?2 I think so.
Will it be the same kind of suffering that our Lord much to Peter’s dismay? Jesus Christ, who emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men, and being found in human form; Jesus Christ, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame; he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.3
For us to behold by God in the richness and loveliness of His glory, we will suffer in the same ways as our Savior and King. But this is not suffering for sake of suffering. Suffering won’t produce righteousness but rather, we are made and declared righteous by God, we will suffer.
You may ask, “What is this suffering and how to we get through it?” The Bible gives plenty of indication but that is not the question to ask. The deepest question we should ask by the power of the Holy Spirit, “What are the affections and desires of my heart?”
What does your heart want? What does it need? What does it yearn after? Is it God or not God. What can you not live without? Whose heart do you have? Do you still possess your old stony heart or God’s soft heart? Do you have your wicked, depraved, sick heart or the heart of God that is anchor to him, chained to him, and that gives us the freedom and the right to run back to him when we are at our very worst?
You will go through suffering. So ask yourself this question, “Will Christ be worth it?” No matter what happens, will God be worth it? No matter the amount of sorrow that this life may bring, will the sweet love of God sustain? Will his comfort and power be enough?
No matter what you might experience in this life, you must believe that Christ will be it all. All your desires satisfied, your fears removed, doubts extinguished, faith completed, hope achieved, life abundant, joy fulfilled, and pleasures infinitely available to your will.
The heart of the Christian is this: no matter what the world may offer, Christ is lovelier still.
The heart of God is this: He knows that is terribly painful and offers sweet relief. The anguish is massive and yet, he gives all the comfort. The sorrows are stacked upon me and the greatest joys are found in him. When the world stops caring about you, you are still very precious in His sight.
That is love.