Suffering means something different to all of us. We all know and understand what it means to suffer on some level or in some area of our life. Growing older, I have seen countless friends and family members suffer as they have lost a loved one. I have buried both of my parents and some days, I suffer in their absence because of the love I have for them. Sinful choices we make may bring about suffering. The result of these decisions may be seen in homes that are broken, jobs that are lost, and addictions all of which create suffering. We see friends & family suffering as the result of failing health. Scripture tells us much can be learned & gained from suffering! Christians are not immune from suffering, we have a responsibility to others who are suffering, and we can have a positive attitude towards suffering.
II Timothy 3:12 says, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” Taking a stand for the church or attempting to teach others about Jesus will result in challenges & some form of persecution. Why? The world doesn’t want to conform to Christ. Christians will most always feel the brunt of this resistance. We should be willing to suffer in the name of Christ. James tells us we can grow in these trials and be pleasing to our Father (James 1:2-4).
When we see others suffering, Christians should seek ways to help them. Romans 12:15 tells us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” The responsibility lies with us to be there for those who need us when suffering is taking place. God’s wisdom is always evident. The church exists for many reasons but one reason is to support each other in this life. We see this in 1 Corinthians 12:26, “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice. “ We must support the church family in good times and when obstacles are present.
We are not made for this earth. Everything is temporary! If we can understand how much can be gained from suffering, difficult days can be bearable. Philippians 3:2-14 says we must be reaching forward to those things which are ahead. As we suffer, let’s not lose focus on Christ. This thought alone is greater than any suffering we will ever endure.