“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
A Christian is called to suffer for Christ, just like He did for us at the cross. When God sanctifies a Christian, the process more often than not involves pain, as he is pushed out of his comfort zone. Other times God sends trials to increase our faith. Job is a perfect example of suffering, his pain was so deep that he sat down and mourned for 7days straight. He lost everything he had and it was a huge loss as Job was the greatest of all the men of the east (Job 1:3).
A Christian is called to bear the cross daily. It is not an easy task, it requires self-denial and the process is often painful. It is made worse when suffering extends, such as a chronic illness or the death of a loved one. Even though we may not know when the difficult period will end, God promises strength if we wait on him. The Psalmist declares that it is good for him to wait on the Lord as they that wait upon God shall renew their strength (Isaiah 40:31). God also promises to deliver us; he will strengthen us, help us and uphold us with the right hand of his righteousness. (Isaiah 41:10).
Even worldly wisdom teaches us endurance and perseverance in times of difficulty. As the saying goes, ‘No pain, no gain’. God can easily remove our sufferings and obstacles but then what good will it do us? We will miss out on the blessings of growth and maturity that are shaped through trials and difficulties. However, He will enable us by His power to overcome because we can do all things in Christ who strengthens us (Phi 4:13).
In our sufferings, we take assurance that God provides comfort, grace, and strength. He is a God of mercy and grace, of depths and heights surpassing what we know. His lovingkindness extends to all his children and He protects them (Psalms 36:5-7). We know this as suffering Christians in the Bible have received grace from God in their trials. For instance, Paul, when he had the thorn in his flesh, begged God to remove it from him three times. However, God’s response was that His grace was sufficient for Paul and His strength made perfect in Paul’s weakness. In times of famine, God provided water for the prophet Elijah and ravens to feed him (1 King 17:3-4). Afterward, when he was fleeing from Queen Jezebel who wanted to kill him, God instructed him to rest and provided him with food and water for 40 days (1 King 19: 5-8). These were all acts of God’s grace and comfort for his people. He will comfort his people.
And one day, God will recreate us spiritually. In heaven, we cannot and will not sin. We will have a glorified body and there will be no more sorrow, sadness, or pain (Rev 21:4). A crown of life is also promised for the Christian who endures trials (James 1:12). That is our future glory and our hope.
We suffer presently but God will help us. He is a God of mercy and grace. Jesus himself promises to be with us in every circumstance so that we are never alone (Matt 28:20).