The Power of Suffering
September 8, 2020
“…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10, ESV).
Amanda has been a dear friend for many years. She’s been a Christian all the years I have known her, but she had drifted from her devotion to God. Her sister-in-law is a Catholic Christian dedicated to Christ. Not long ago, Amanda watched her sister-in-law carry the staggering weight of her husband’s death with an unwavering trust in God. Amanda has now returned to a close walk with God and has found Him best within the Catholic Church. It is beautiful to see. What is more, Amanda’s son, a recalcitrant drug user, has followed her to faith in Christ, and he has been drug free for four years. Last weekend, we met Amanda and her husband in New Orleans for a short escape and attended the 9 a.m. mass at St. Louis Cathedral. The priest’s prayer for the suffering that morning included, “May they join their suffering with the suffering of Christ.”
One of the beautiful truths regarding our human struggle is that we can choose to “join our suffering with the suffering of Christ.” Somehow, as His followers, if we choose, we can allow God to take our pain and mold it into a part of His redemption story. I have often thought that there is no better witness for the gospel than the Christian who suffers and continues to glorify God in Christ.
The world watches.
It’s the most beautiful picture of the cross I know, and I suspect it is far more than a picture. I suspect that, as we glorify Him, God enters our suffering with true redemptive power, such that people are transformed, and some who have strayed will return home and some who are imprisoned by the chains of their destructive choices will be freed.
When my time comes to suffer, let me share in the suffering of Christ, and thus allow Him to continue His work through me.