Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Suffering With or Without
The world’s brutality, suffering, tragedy, pain, and death confront us daily. The daily news bombards with stories of tragedy around the globe. What the media don’t often report are the “un-newsworthy” personal tragedies millions of people face on any given day – the doctor’s diagnosis of your cancer, the death of your parent, the outsourcing of your job, your business being robbed, or your aging parents in failing health.
Tragedy in our lives causes us to look inward and to God. Who among us has not asked why God would allow such tragedies to happen or why bad things happen to good people? Every one of us has struggled with trying to find justice, purpose, or reason in some of the painful events we have been through or seen. Every one of us has had to deal with pain and suffering in our lives.
Because trials are inevitable, the question is not “Will I ever have to suffer?” The question is “Will I face suffering with Christ or without Christ?” In other words, “Will you face suffering with hope or without hope?” People who suffer without Christ often experience overwhelming hopelessness and despair. People who suffer with Christ always have hope and are never in total despair. When you are faced with suffering and adversity in your life, you want to face them with Jesus Christ.
Paul said in Romans 8:18 that “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” He said in 2 Corinthians 4:8 “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” Paul also says in Romans 8:17, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.”
Paul is telling us it is normal to suffer in this world. Scripture records the vast suffering he experienced during his life. In order to claim the hope and promise in Paul’s verses, however, we must be suffering with Jesus Christ, not apart from Him. Suffering with Him brings untold glory beyond compare. Suffering without Him brings no hope, only meaningless frustration and hopelessness.
Suffering with Jesus Christ and eternal glory go hand-in-hand. They are inseparably linked. Scripture teaches us clearly that a connection exists between suffering with Jesus Christ and future glory with Christ. Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kind of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in Heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12). Paul reminds us, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).
Our problem is we want glory without the suffering. We want the resurrection power without having to share in the sufferings of Jesus Christ. But we cannot know the greatest glory of Jesus Christ apart from the suffering and adversity. Suffering with Him here on Earth increases our capacity for glory in eternity.
Suffering is never easy, which is why we go to great lengths to avoid it. Scripture tells us suffering is a normal part of receiving the eternal glory in Jesus Christ (John 16:33). Suffering and Christ’s glory go hand-in-hand with receiving the eternal rewards promised though Him. Suffering is an expected part of a life on Earth. The question today is whether you will be suffering with Him or without Him. The Bible tells us clearly that it’s normal to suffer with Him.
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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