Imagine a world that didn’t have any pain; a world that didn’t have any violence, where children didn’t die of leukemia, where genocides never happened. Imagine a world where we never endured suffering, whether for good or bad. Nobody ever dies in this world so that we would never have to experience the pain of loss, the sorrow of bereavement. People wouldn’t lose their houses to a fire, nor would any family be displaced as a refugee’s. Homelessness would be unthinkable, and starvation unfathomable.
What kind of a world would that be?
It would be a world devoid of compassion, for how could you show compassion to a person who has no need of it? We wouldn’t learn how to be patient or how to endure. We would never know what joy, love and peace is. How could we? In a world without suffering we would have no contrast. Without cold, would we know heat? Without dark, would we know light?
How would we be obedient to God?
“Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation…” Hebrews 5:8-9
Obedience is a tricky thing. To do what we want to do isn’t necessarily obedience even when it lines up with what another wants us to do. To be obedient is to submissively do a task even when, especially when, we don’t really want to do it. Jesus did pray that the cup would pass from Him in the garden, but He was obedient to His Father in doing His will no matter what.
“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.” Romans 8:16-17
We join in the suffering of Christ to be glorified with Him. We endure the hardships and trials with joy knowing the outcome. We consider the trials here as temporary compared to the eternal weight of glory. Suffering is miserable in the moment, and who wants to endure it? But Christ did, and so shall we.
Let’s suffer with Christ.