Recently, I was reminded of something I had lost sight of and didn't necessarily want to revisit; if I truly long to follow Christ - and I mean REALLY follow him - there will be suffering in life. I don't mean to be a downer but that is the reality for someone who desires to live for Jesus.

It's difficult to accept my and others’ misery in a painful season. I see friends and loved ones who stare into the face of grave things and still manage to wear a smile. As excruciating as the pain is when we are in the thick of despair and feeling discouraged because of it, we also have an incredible Savior who prevents us from being overcome by it.

Which means we must look to Jesus, who never came to live a leisurely or prosperous life, but to suffer anguish, willingly, even though he petitioned his father in Gethsemane's garden to remove the cup of suffering, if it was God's will (Luke 22:42). So, it stands to reason that those brave enough to follow the suffering Savior will also suffer until, in glory, we see Jesus face to face and every form of affliction will cease.

We should never minimize the hurt that one in its midst is feeling. However, as Christians, we can look to our suffering Savior as he hung on the cross and his agony resonates in our times of torment. Whether as a result of our sin, oppression from the enemy or God's merciful affliction, let us not lose sight of the growth that comes from the privilege of suffering, for we are in good company alongside our Lord and he will comfort us during those seasons. May we allow our difficulties to shape us for the heavenly home that awaits us.

Heavenly Father, I don't enjoy suffering nor do I gain pleasure from seeing others suffer. However, I know it is for our gain as we await the time when we will be with you in heaven. Give me the faith and strength to endure the suffering you have in mind for me. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Throughout This Day: Take a moment to think about some of your greatest times of suffering. What did you learn from them? Did suffering draw you closer to your suffering Savior, bringing comfort and a greater sweetness to your intimacy with him?

Tags: suffering Isaiah 53 problem of suffering sanctification Obedience
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