‘For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for Him.’ Philippians 1:29 NLT
Think of Gethsemane, the garden where Jesus Himself wrestled with the will of God. ‘Take this cup from Me.’ (Mark 14:36 NIV) It was a reference to the cup of wrath. Jesus knew He’d have to drink it to the dregs. But before He did, He asked His Father if He could take it away, if there was any other way. But then He qualified His request with the ultimate prayer of surrender: ‘Not My will, but Yours, be done.’ (Luke 22:42 NKJV) Our prayers tend to focus on external circumstances more than internal attitudes, because we’d rather have God change our circumstances than change us. It’s a lot easier that way. But we miss the point altogether. It’s the worst of circumstances that often brings out the best in us. And if it’s the bad things that bring out the good things, then maybe those bad things are good things in the grand scheme of things! When we’ve been tested we come to acquire a testimony to share with others.
Yes, you can be saved without suffering, but you cannot be spiritually matured or equipped for service without it. That doesn’t mean you seek it out, but it does mean you see it for what it is—an opportunity to glorify God. Paul, who suffered greatly, writes, ‘For you have been given the privilege of suffering for Him.’ Where did Paul find such strength? ‘I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.’ (Romans 8:18 NKJV) So the word for you today is: seek to glorify God in every circumstance of life.