When it comes to suffering, the Bible tells us of our need to be made pure. When people endure injustice, most will readily defend themselves. Yet when Christ suffered injustice, He submitted Himself to God and said, “Plead Thou My cause and deliver Me” (Psalm 119:154). Christ suffered as Man with His people, which He couldn’t do if He wasn’t a man. And, as God, He delivers His people. If He wasn’t God, how could He deliver us?
We may suffer from temptation when the enemy tries to get us to bypass the will of God. But there are some types of temptation, sorrow and pain no one can share with us. Although it may seem like we lose everything when we experience suffering, we will get it back a little at a time. “For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit…” (1 Peter 3:17-18).
We either find ourself through our suffering or we are destroyed by it. We can’t say that what we believe truly belongs to us—until we have made it our own by suffering. While the book of Job is not one that is intended to teach us anything, it does bring us a profound awareness that someone understands and knows our pain. Some kinds of suffering occur in which there is nothing we can say. But when what we claim we believe about God is not what we experience from our personal relationship to Him—then we must endure genuine suffering.
Who can ever fully know what pain and agony Christ actually went through concerning His three hours hanging on the Cross! The Apostle Paul wanted to know about Christ in the power of His resurrection and in the fellowship of His sufferings. He was talking about identifying with the crucifixion, resurrection and agonies of Christ, not about his own suffering, or of anyone else’s. We go through trials and valleys and pain in order to get us to devote ourself to Jesus and His Word with our whole heart. If we are truly the children of God and are called on to endure hardship, all we go through comes from His hand, and even more so, from His heart.
Jesus knows about all our grief and pain, and what miracle we need in relation to them. He is the only One Who can heal the broken-hearted. We shouldn’t think this means our pain will simply be taken away, but that He will give us grace to look beyond the moment. Hardship or pain can make looking up difficult, but we must still try to look up to Christ—”Unto Thee lift I up mine eyes.” Then we will find Jesus suffering with us right in the middle of our grief and pain.
Many people are very eager to ask God to relieve them of suffering! But how many are not so eager to ask Him to deliver them from sin? These people turn God’s suffering and patience into a farce because they do not believe and are corrupted. The patient endurance of God does not give us the right to go on sinning. Sin brings suffering every time—that’s one thing we can be sure of! Even nature has to endure it because of our sin.
But all who suffer can rest assured that there is nothing that can “…ever separate us from Christ’s love.” It would be better for God’s truth to suffer than for love to go through this. God’s kindness that completely covers is in the lives of all who remain persuaded of the great love He has, no matter what they might have to go through. Suffering for Christ’s sake is what characterizes His disciples. “For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God” (1 Peter 2:20).
Jesus came to Earth to suffer in the manner that we do, but He also did it so that we won’t have to. He does it in our place. It was the very Son of God Who had to go through this. The suffering servant was Christ—but He is also the exalted and glorious Lord. And He has made us the promise that, “if we suffer [now on His behalf], we shall also reign with Him” (2 Timothy 2:12). “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake; let us never forget that our prayers are heard, not because we are in earnest, not because we suffer, but because Jesus suffered” (Philippians 1:29). We can only respond by giving all the glory to God, for whom we endure pain and hardship, and Who did the same and more for us!