Nobody wants to be associated with suffering, but God as a master planner in His infinite wisdom picked suffering as a raw material to build His glory and shame the devil. He made it in such a way that the whole process of Christian suffering looks shameful but in it lies the Christian beauty. Jesus went through the cross and the devil and the Jews rejoiced without knowing that they had made their greatest mistake by facilitating the crucifixion of the king of glory. It was the suffering and death of Christ that reconciled humanity with God and restored the dignity of man that was lost in the garden of Eden.
Lack of knowledge of this biblical fact is responsible for many challenges in Christendom today. Many Christians run away from divinely ordained suffering and many have embraced the devil in search of comfort. There is a lack of people willing to evangelize the world because only few are ready to suffer for the sake of the Gospel. The quest to live in comfort and luxury by Christians has not allowed many to respond to this beautiful package that was ordained by God since the world began. Christian suffering is seldom mentioned in churches today due to ignorance of the hidden secret and the power of the old rugged cross.
It is shocking to know that the greatest privilege that God has given to His children is for us to be partakers in Christ's suffering. Christian suffering is an act of getting involved in an unpleasant or even anguishing experience by a Christian for Jesus, His kingdom and His name. It usually has severe psycho-physical and existential pains which comes as a result of a Christian's decision to follow Jesus. Those who suffer here on earth for Christ's sake are united in that suffering with Christ and will reign with Him (2 Timothy 2:12). It is important to note that Christian suffering is all about Jesus and not because of our mistakes, our sin, our laziness, our recklessness, our faults, etc. So many people suffer for so many reasons but Christians are expected to suffer only for Christ, His gospel and His kingdom.
God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise and Christian suffering is one of the foolish things that God has used to humiliate the devil. The people of the world see the preaching of the cross as foolishness but in it lies believers power to triumph. It is through suffering that the Church will raise sons who will be conformed to the image of Christ so that when He comes, we will be like Him and be qualified to enter into His Kingdom. (Romans 8: 17-19, 1 John 3:2, Acts 14:22)
Jesus is establishing the Kingdom through suffering and all His followers must pass through the same route to enter into the Kingdom (Acts 14:22). Suffering produces obedience; even Jesus as a man would not have been able to obey the father absolutely if not for what He suffered (Hebrew 5:8). God allows us to go through difﬁculties so that we can learn to obey Him. When the devil mocks us because we suffer, he does not understand that we are learning obedience and building cordial relationship with God, which will be consummated when Christ returns.
Suffering for Christ is an antidote to sin; Apostle Peter made it clear in his epistle that whoever suffers in the ﬂesh ceases from sin. "Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin" (1 Peter4:1). Suffering produces glory, the whole world is waiting for the manifestation of the glorious sons of God. The suffering in this world is not anyway compared to the glory that will be revealed (Romans 8:18).
Jesus suffered and did good and has left a model for us to emulate. "For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps". (1 Peter 2:21 NLT) We are not only called to believe in Christ but also to suffer for Him. He invited us to carry our Cross and follow Him. Suffering has been destined for Christians. "For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him" (Philippians 1:29 NLT).
There is a fellowship in His suffering, which is reserved only for the privileged Christians in preparation for the glorious appearing of Christ (Philippians 3:10). Apostle Paul prayed to be admitted into this fellowship.
I pray that everyone who reads this article will receive the revelation about Christian suffering. Count it all joy when you are suffering for Christ sake, it is a sign that the spirit of glory is resting on you, which will soon be revealed (1 Peter 4:13-14).