Focusing On Christ In The Midst Of Suffering

Updated: Feb 26

“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 ESV


This passage was written by the Apostle Paul: a man who went from killing Christians to becoming one. He went from a man who despised those in the faith to enduring anything for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is what the radical transformative power of Jesus Christ can do. Those who genuinely believe come to see that this life is not all there is. Their eyes are opened to a reality that has always been. It is this Enlightenment from God Himself that gives us hope and a future.


What then did Paul go through? Why is a man who makes such a bold statement as “our sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us?” Why are his words so meaningful? To understand why his words carry much weight, we must see the sufferings that he endured. Let us look to 2 Corinthians 11:23-29 (ESV) for the answer:


“Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?”

Paul was a real man who went through real sufferings for the sake of the One and Only Real Lord and Savior: Jesus Christ.

The next time we are having a bad day, we must simply refer to the passage above. We must not merely read it and give mental ascent. We must remind ourselves that Paul was a real man who went through real sufferings for the sake of the One and Only Real Lord and Savior: Jesus Christ.

We often wish that we were delivered out of our suffering, rather than praying for God’s grace and strength to help us through our suffering.

O that we might have a faith that would endure sufferings for the sake of Christ. How quick we are to allow our sufferings to override us. When we are persecuted, become sick, are betrayed, and lose those nearest to us, we quickly fall into dismay. We wish that we were delivered out of our suffering, rather than praying for God’s grace and strength to help us through our suffering.

It is in meditating on the sufferings of Christ that we gain newness of strength.

It is of utmost importance that we focus our eyes on Christ when we go through our sufferings. We must not allow ourselves to fall into discouragement, depression, and hopelessness. Rather, we must persevere down the path of righteousness. We must see past the externals and once again ask God to remind us of Christ’s sufferings. For it is in meditating on the sufferings of Christ that we gain newness of strength. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15 ESV).


We worship Thee Lord and Savior Who “was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5 ESV). It is because of Him that we have a true and living hope. It is by setting our eyes once again on Him and His sufferings that our hope becomes renewed, knowing that Christ conquered all at Calvary.

Scripture promises a life of suffering. God alone gives purpose to our suffering and a hope of being delivered from all suffering. One must simply repent and believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior.

“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24 ESV). Christ took the full blow of God's Wrath and suffered for our sake. Christ destroyed the powers of darkness and death at the expense of being forsaken by The Heavenly Father. He bore all of mankind's sins - from Adam to the last man that shall live - because He loved us. It is in our repentance and profession of faith that we may accept the free gift of salvation. Once we are saved, we become saints who are enrolled in the school of the Holy Ghost. We are guaranteed suffering in this life.


Therefore, it is in our suffering that we endure the same path that all the saints of old had walked. We partake in the sufferings of Christ. No matter if it pertains to us, relationships, sickness, jobs, or on a nation-wide or world-wide scale, we will have suffering here in this life.

Just as courage cannot be built without fearful endeavors, so Christ’s glory cannot be fully manifested in our lives without suffering.

We must know that it is a blessing to go through suffering. For just as courage cannot be built without fearful endeavors, so Christ’s glory cannot be fully manifested in our lives without suffering. “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in Him but also suffer for His sake” (Philippians 1:29 ESV). This is a painful reality, but nonetheless true. We must be willing to endure our suffering. We must remind ourselves that anything we go through does not compare to what Christ, the Apostle Paul, and the saints of old had to endure.

We must be willing to endure our suffering. We must remind ourselves that anything we go through does not compare to what Christ, the Apostle Paul, and the saints of old had to go through.

May we give praise and thanks to God, Who humbled Himself for a time from Infinite Glory and became one of us for our sake. “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8 NKJV). May we rejoice in the fact that God is with us and goes before us. He is in the midst of our suffering and will not allow suffering to occur without Divine purpose and meaning. Our responsibility is to simply remember that He is with us and remains Sovereign. He is protecting us in the midst of it all; and if our response is appropriate, we will be rewarded for our perseverance.

God is in the midst of our suffering and will not allow suffering to occur without Divine purpose and meaning. Our responsibility is to simply remember that He is with us and remains Sovereign.

May we know that after we “have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, Who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10 ESV).


PRAYER


Heavenly Father, we thank You for You loving us so much, that You descended from the Heavens and sent Your Son to die on the Cross for our sins. O Lord, we are undeserving of anything, yet, we accept everything from You. Thank You for all Your wonderful blessings and tender mercies. Lord, give us the grace and strength needed in the days ahead to endure our suffering. Lord, give us the wisdom to remember that our suffering is never as bad as it could be. May we be found faithful in the midst of our trying times, in order that Your glory and power may be manifested in our lives. God Almighty, continue to guide us down the path of righteousness. May the Holy Spirit empower us with the desire to fulfill Your will, and Your will alone. May our suffering not be in vain, as we focus on the glorification of Your name. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Lance VanTine

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