Suffering (Bible Tag 25)

We all experience sufferings in this life. Romans 5:3-5 shows us how God uses this pain to build our endurance and character if we let him.

We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 

Sometimes God must lead you to the boundaries. Some event, person, or moral circumstance must push you to acknowledge, "I cannot do this."  A good spiritual advisor might say to themselves (not to the sufferer), Praise God, now we’re going to begin the real spiritual journey.

Paul's letter to Corinth explains how suffering is a circle bringing us to comfort.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from the Spirit. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:3–5. 

C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains.”

Paul reminds us any suffering here will be nothing compared to the glory coming.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18

Paul's letter to the Colossians goes on to say that we can contribute to this circle of eternal consolation and eternal suffering:
Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. Col 1:24

The Sufferings of Jesus

To understand why Jesus Christ died, we must first understand who God is. So we begin with the Holy Trinity and the Father, Son, and Spirit's fellowship, which is full, glorious, rich, and overflowing. This three-in-one God created everything, and this divine life of togetherness and communion is the source of everything. This divine fellowship of unending joy is why we exist. 

It is not only Jesus who suffers, but the crucifixion represents what is constantly occurring within God!

Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, ascended into heaven, and now sits at the right hand of the Father. Stephen did not observe an angel or ghost standing at the right hand of God in heaven. He saw Jesus!

The crucifixion is God's enduring symbol and representation, demonstrating that God knows what it is like to be abandoned, that God is in solidarity with us in our experience of rejection, and that God does not observe suffering from a safe distance. Believe it or not, God is in the suffering with us. Jesus's suffering and death is part of the stunning plan of the Triune God to include us in the Trinitarian life.

Bible Tag Prompt

As you sew your tag this week, pray to remember when sufferings come to remember the circle. Include a circle to remind us of the suffering circle.

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