“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).
“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 Peter 4:1).
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world” – C. S. Lewis.
No one likes suffering. In fact, most of us have a natural aversion to it. Most of us would absolutely love it if becoming a follower of Jesus Christ was a guarantee of easy living.
But there’s no evidence of such easy living found in the scriptures. Instead the scripture writers tell us that part of what it means to be a disciple and a follower of Jesus Christ is that suffering is a regular part of faithful discipleship. There’s something about suffering that shapes, forms, and matures a disciple. You could even say that it is impossible to mature as a disciple without having an element of suffering.
This doesn’t mean all of discipleship is suffering. If that were the case who would ever want to be a disciple? There are great moments of happiness and joy.
The reason why suffering is an integral part of discipleship is because God is more interested in our spiritual maturity and growth than he is about our spiritual comfort.
Charles Spurgeon says, “Men will never become great in theology until they become great in suffering.”
God loves you so much he cannot leave us the way we are today. He wants us to grow. He wants us to mature. He wants us to become more effective for the kingdom. He wants us to be agents of even greater blessing to others.
“Now, every time I witness a strong person, I want to know: what dark did you conquer in your story? Mountains do not rise without earthquakes” – Katherine MacKenett.
Friends, this has been a hard year. Isn’t that good news? God’s been training and equipping you to grow and mature in your faith!