“What’s wrong, Sara?” My little sister caught the look on my face.
“Nothing, I’m fine!” I didn’t want to burden her.
It’s natural to protect those we love, especially people like younger siblings, nieces, and nephews, or our children. Timothy was like a son to Paul. Yet unlike most parents, Paul did something crazy. He asked Timothy to suffer with him.
More than once, Paul urges Timothy to join him in suffering. But, the positive way Paul puts it, you wouldn’t think he’s encouraging someone he loves to voluntarily face persecution, beating, fear, and so much more.
Yet, he does just that. Why?
Because suffering for the gospel is an incredible honor, and it’s not something we should take lightly — or see negatively. Suffering gives us a special opportunity to know God better, grow in him, and glorify him to those around us.
I don’t know what suffering you face for the gospel right now. I’m sure it feels impossibly hard. Trust me, I’ve faced my own suffering. But soldier, don’t forget that this is an honor. Suffer with dignity and grace by the power of God. Out of love, invite others to suffer for the gospel with you. Because when you suffer for the gospel, you are like Jesus. And after you suffer, God will not overlook your faithfulness.
Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of suffering for you. Help me to glorify you and please meet me here when I don’t feel like I can make it any longer. I trust you. Amen.
**Go Deeper* — What is the difference between suffering and suffering for the gospel? Where is the focus of each placed?
Photo Credit: Sharon McCutcheon