The Gift of Suffering

Pondering Philippians: Chapter 1, Verses 19-30

Trials.  Pain.  Loss.  They are to be expected in this world.

We hear a sermon on grace in the midst of suffering and we say, “amen.”  Then we leave the church building and pray it never happens to us.  We will endure mild discomfort for the cause of Christ, but hope to dodge the bullet on any real pain.

We hope to make it through unscathed.  And if, by chance, we make it through with minimal damage – we thank God for His mercies and assume that He must really love us.

What, then, do we do with Philippians 1:29?

For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in Him but also suffer for His sake.

We have been granted the privilege of suffering.  Are we ever as close to Christ as when we feel the weight of the cross on our backs?  John Piper says it this way, “There is more of God to be had in times of suffering than any other time.”  More of God.  Shouldn’t that be our desire?

When we feel beaten up by the world and abandoned by those we love? More of you, God, give me more.

When the loss is so great and the pain so intense? More of you, God, give me more.

This verse is also translated this way:

There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting.

We live, most days, in ignorance of what it means to suffer.  But, if we are living for Him, our day will come.

May we suffer like Paul – for the advancement of the gospel and to the glory of God.

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Previous posts in the Pondering Philippians series:

Day 1: God is Not Through (Philippians 1:1-11)

Day 2: Your Painful Purpose (Philippians 1:12-18)

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me and buxStacy Edwards is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom. You can follow Stacy on Twitter (@sjedwards.)

Comments

  1. Great Post! I thought of Saeed Abedini, imprisoned in Iran when I read this.