In the third part of our series on the subject of suffering of Christ and Christians, let’s reflect on two more themes …
Since the ultimate purpose of our call is to be moulded into a Christ-like image (2 Cor 3:18), suffering plays the role of a refiner removing the impurities even while instilling Christ-like patience in us (James 1:2-4). As Christians, we need to remember that while Salvation (Romans 10:8-10) and Rapture into the Promised Land (read Heaven — 1 Cor 15:51-52) are the miracles of the moment accomplished in a fraction of a second, the growth of a Saint (read sanctification), on the other hand, is a life-long process. Ditto the same with the Israelites of Moses’ time…didn’t their departure from their bondage in Egypt (Numbers 33:3-4) and their entry into the Promised Land (Joshua 3) take just a day each, whereas their journey of “sanctification” lasted 40 long years? What is one day in 14,400 (40 years)?…Boy…a mere 0.06%!
“Pastor, please pray for the transfer of my colleague in my department,” pleaded a Christian Bank Officer, “for this colleague of mine is one big pain in my neck,” he added petulantly. Pastor nodded but did not pray. A month later: “Pastor,” groaned the same officer, “my thorn in the flesh, my colleague still remains in my department, if he is not transferred from my department it is OK, but please pray at least that I should get transferred from that department.” The wise Pastor nodded again but did not pray. In the third month, came the troubled Christian officer finally with this far-sighted plea: “Pastor, I do not know why your prayers are not being answered. If my irksome colleague and I will have to live together, please pray at least that I should develop Christ-like patience to tolerate him.” “Hallelujah!” exclaimed the Pastor. By the way, a Pastor is not the only intermediary for prayers. We need to pray ourselves too (James 5:13).
Coming to the crux of the matter, why does the Father want all of us to be like His Son (I John 3:2)? Is it so that Heaven is filled with beautiful people like Jesus (one in ten thousand –Song of Solomon 5:10)? Nay!!! None has loed the Father throughout the eternity as the Son has! We are going to spend eternity with Him. We need to love Him like Christ does. Hallelujah!
Now do rewards await us in Heaven for suffering patiently in this fallen World, just as the priceless laurel wreath awaits the winner of a marathon race? Let the Scripture take over at this stage and affirm this truth…
“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.” (Rom 8:18)
What kind of Glory would it be?
Again let the Scripture answer…
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” (I Cor 2:9)
Prayer: Father, even as difficulties come visiting in our lives, enable us to keep our eyes firmly focused on things above, acknowledging that the sufferings’ are only temporary. In Jesus’ Name. Amen
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
(To access the entire “Gospel of Adversity” mini-series, please click here.)