In a recent post I spoke of suffering. The suffering Christ experienced on the cross is incomprehensible to the human mind. No one can begin to imagine the burden and pain our Savior experienced by bearing our sin on the cross.  The burden was so heavy Jesus asked God the Father to spare him.

Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”

The Gospel according to Luke, Chapter 22, Verse 42

We try to imagine the burden, pain, and suffering endured by Christ. We read about it in the Scriptures, we write about it, some even make films to dramatize the sacrifice. As powerful and moving as these attempts may be, they still fall short. Similarly, we are unable to completely grasp the glory of His resurrection from death and the power of the risen Savior to free us from the grip of sin and thereby grant us eternal life.  

And this is the promise which He Himself [Christ Jesus] made to us: eternal life.

Book of 1st John, Chapter 2, Verse 25

What is eternal life? And why would anyone, especially the Son of God, suffer to obtain it if it’s no different than the life we have now?  

Eteranal life gives us a family and a future.

“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.  For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Book of Romans, Chapter 8, Verses 16-18  

We will be with Christ and we will be like Christ.

In his letter to the Philippians the apostle Paul explains: “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”

God views our suffering in a different light.

“Blessed is the person who perseveres under trial; for once he has passed the test he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” Book of James, Chapter 1, Verse 12

Most of us have experienced personal struggles that caused great pain and loss. And yet for most of us our suffering doesn’t begin to compare to the persecution hundreds of thousands of Christ-followers have experienced in the last two centuries. It continues today in many parts of the world.

If you are suffering intense persecution because of your faith in Christ, I can only offer my prayers and share God’s abundant promises. God will give you the strength you need to endure when you need it.

“No trial has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tested beyond what you are able, but with the trial will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 10, Verse 13

If you are suffering, cling to these words:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, Chapter 4, Verse 13.

Christ Jesus says: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.” The Gospel According to Matthew, Chapter 11, Verses 28-29