If God made “the Captain of our Salvation perfect through suffering” (Hebrews 2:10) and He wants to make me like Christ (Romans 8:29) why am I surprised when He chooses to mature me through suffering?
Even Paul suffered and asked that his affliction be removed, but God refused, instead telling him “My grace is sufficient for you” ( 2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
Why do I suppose God would do any different with me?
“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps.” (1 Peter 2:21) Too often I hear references to the end of this verse, but those references skip the beginning of the verse which states HOW we will be like Christ: that we will suffer.
Called to Suffer.
We are called to suffer.
That is a hard pill for me to swallow.
It doesn’t line up with our modern idea of God making my life better.
But it is Bible.
If I follow Christ, I will suffer.
If not through persecution (we don’t have much here in America yet) then God will use another kind of suffering to mature me in Christ.
Perhaps an illness or financially difficulties.
This is how I become more like Him. It is how I learn that I am utterly dependent on Him for my being (Acts 17:28).
After considering all this, I realized that I have been praying wrong.
I was praying, like Paul, that God would take my illness away when the illness is evidence that God is working in me.
Previously, I had seen my suffering as keeping me from doing something for God.
In reality it is what God is doing in me, what He is using to make me more like Him.
The same is true in your life.
Jesus doesn’t promise a bed of roses, but he does promise that it’s worth it.
The apostles considered themselves blessed and honored to share in Chists’ suffering.
A humbling thought indeed.