By Pastor Leo Obra
2 Cor. 6:10 “Sorrowful yet always Rejoicing…”
Romans 8:17, And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Embracing suffering??? Who wants it?
It’s very, very rare to see somebody who would gladly offer herself to suffering. I haven’t met somebody who is really willing to go through any form of sufferings nor welcomes to go through it at all. As people, we shunned various kinds of suffering – No one would like to have a disease, no one would like to get a pay cut, No one would like to lose his job and career, especially if it’s the only source of income one has. No one would like to have a terrible boss, or maybe we don’t want to experience hardship in the ministry or maybe his/her child to be disabled – we don’t want to suffer. Suffering maybe the last thing a Christian would like to experience. Why? Because most people think that suffering connotes uncertainty, pain, out-of-control situation, loss of something or maybe sorrow – and we don’t want it. It makes us go out from our comfort zone which we don’t like it let alone get stuck for quite long.
Gloomy yet Glad
However, sufferings (not as a result of sin) are actually blessings according to the bible. Blessing in the sense it leads to something – blessing in the sense that we belong to someone. In Romans 8:17 it said, “And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” So how can a mere man like Paul, declare joy amidst sorrowful suffering, how can he say sorrowful yet always rejoicing, in the eye of suffering? Although, there’s an unavoidable pain and sadness brought by his trials, but His joy surpasses those sorrows. It’s because his suffering was a sure indication of where he belongs – that He is a child of God – a more than enough reason to be joyful.
It’s hard to cheer up when you are really on a state of suffering. Perhaps in the worldview, being happy amidst suffering can be construed as craziness or maybe out of mine. But this is the irony of Christian suffering – is to be joyful amidst test and amidst storm. Amidst suffering, because of the hope that we have in Christ, because of the surpassing worth of knowing Him and being His child.
One of the things God taught me in my journey is that, it’s hard to embrace and accept something in which you are NOT really joyful or happy with. That’s why a lot of people embrace sin such as same sex or live-in relationship because they’re happy about it. On the other way around, a true believer struggles to embrace back the way he used to be doing such as vices, wrong relationships etc, because there’s no joy anymore in those sins. He was already changed by God. I got married and embraced to be with my wonderful wife because I felt joy and happiness out my love for her.
I believe the same thing with suffering, we cannot embrace it if we don’t see the joy behind its curtain. And that joy lies in the life-saving, joy producing and life-changing Words of God in Romans 8:17, because it’s only through this powerful Words of the Lord that we will be able to discover the joy in suffering…endure suffering. Only then through this hope that we will be able to embrace suffering.