the joy of suffering
"I consider the sufferings of the present to be as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed in us." —Romans 8:18
When we suffer, we may take a pill for pain relief. However, Paul recommends that we pray for a deeper awareness of God's glory. We need to increase our awareness of God's glory more than decrease our pain. Then we will consider our suffering as nothing compared to His glory to be revealed in us. We can even become so aware of God's glory that we consider suffering a privilege (Phil 1:29), find our joy in our suffering (Col 1:24), and even rejoice in proportion to our suffering (1 Pt 4:13).
For most people, their joy increases as their suffering decreases. For Christians aware of God's glory, our joy increases as our suffering increases. This is only possible for those deeply aware of God's glorious presence (1 Pt 2:19). This fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Ps 111:10), even of wisdom concerning our suffering. We find joy in suffering only when we suffer redemptively through self-sacrifice and persecution.
Most suffering should be removed through repentance, evangelization, deliverance, and/or healing. Redemptive suffering, however, should be compared to God's glory and considered nothing (see Rm 8:18). We should rejoice in redemptive suffering and even seek to increase it by living totally for Christ.
Prayer: Father, give me the faith and love to pray to share more in Your sufferings (see Phil 3:10).
Promise: "So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but shall do My will, achieving the end for which I sent it." —Is 55:11
Praise: He once was dead, but now He lives (Rv 1:18). Jesus is Lord! Alleluia!
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Redemptive Suffering on audio AV 75-1 or video V-75.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 2, 2014
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