The Ministry of Suffering
I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, . . . for the sake of His body, which is the church. —Colossians 1:24
In this self-indulgent age, many believe that people of faith shouldn’t suffer. But according to author George MacDonald, “The Son of God suffered unto death, not that men might not suffer, but that their sufferings might be like His.”
In Colossians 1:24, the apostle Paul said that his own sufferings filled up what was “lacking in the afflictions of Christ.” He didn’t mean that Christ’s death was inadequate to save us. He was indicating that suffering for the Lord is a part of following Him. As we live for Christ and proclaim His sacrifice to a lost world, we will experience suffering.
What an example the apostle is to us! Instead of pitying himself, he joyfully suffered for Christ and His people. He knew that pain and suffering weren’t too great a price for the privilege of being a blessing to others.
Hymnwriter Frances Ridley Havergal, referring to her pain-ridden body, said, “Everybody is so sorry for me except myself.” Then she added, “I see my pain in the light of Calvary.” Even those who suffer physical infirmities can glorify God and challenge others.
It’s not morbid to accept suffering as we serve the Lord—it’s our calling and ministry!
The suffering that we endure To bring light to a darkened soul Gives us great reason to rejoice When lives, once broken, are made whole. —Sper
By Joanie Yoder