Monday, March 19, 2012
Suffering for Others
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. ~ Colossians 1 24-26
I kept reading "filling up what is lacking in Christ's affliction for the sake of his body, that is the church". I read it over and over. Read the whole chapter, the whole book, and that phrase still stuck in my head. I could not understand it.
Then I sought God over the passage. There are times when I forget the obvious. I suspect that I am not alone in that forgetfulness!
Paul is talking about how we are united in sufferings. We are united to Jesus, and we are united to one another. Some Christians seem to have ease, others have much tribulation. All of us are united by that tribulation, and by that ease. We depend on one another to minister the mystery hidden: the gospel.
The church grows on the blood of the martyrs. Have you heard that before? How about Jesus' words that we will suffer for his name's sake? It is a joy to come, a joy to wait for when we suffer. Jesus endured the cross to receive His joy: His Bride, the church. It may be through our suffering the church will grow, the gospel be heard. Praise Him.
Even in our suffering, Jesus is not unfamiliar with our sufferings. He was forsaken, tortured, beaten, persecuted. Do not be surprised, dear saints, when these things happen also to you. You belong to Jesus, and will be treated no differently than He was. Run to Jesus with your woes. He will hide you. You are safe in Him. Cry out to him, He listens and knows. Remember, too, you are minstering the gospel to others, even in your afflictions.