“But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”1 Peter 4:13
I’ve always hoped that if I was faced with suffering for Christ I would stand strong in my faith, rejoicing through it all and bringing great glory to His name.
I’ve hoped that if I faced physical persecution, imprisonment, or the threat of death for the sake of Christ that I would rejoice. I’ve hoped that if I faced death of child, loss of a loved one, long-term illness, or public ridicule that I would be able to sing praises no matter what. That my friends and neighbors and coworkers would see that I still had an unshakeable hope in the midst of a crushing circumstance.
But rejoicing in suffering…it starts now.
Rejoicing in suffering starts in rejoicing in the small things…
…in the things that aren’t suffering.
It starts when you calmly attack the mountain of dishes in the kitchen sink.
It starts when you set aside a time from a busy morning to spend at His feet.
It starts when you choose to wait and pray instead of lashing out in anger.
It starts when you wake up with plans held in an open hand.
It starts when you go to bed by first putting the anxious plans of tomorrow in the hands of our Savior and rest in the knowledge that He is in control.
Because if you can’t make it through an average day rejoicing, what makes you think you’d be able to rejoice in real suffering?
Because most of us will never experience true suffering for Christ like Peter did, and I think that knowledge keeps our faith small and our lives weak. The knowledge that the greatest suffering most of us will endure is personal illness or loss and that those things seem so far off keeps us soft.
So our lives and hearts get wrapped into knots around busy schedules and dirty dishes and thin wallets. And these things are real and hard, but they are so very small compared to what Christ suffered for us and compared to the suffering for His name that He invites us into.
Because He invites us to share in His sufferings.
And we are not only invited to share in His sufferings, but we’re invited to rejoice in them. To rejoice.
And we can’t seem to rejoice in the in and out of packing lunch boxes and working a boring job and having to purposefully arrange and order our lives in a way that brings Him glory…
Sisters, I’m not saying these things are easy and I’m not trying to minimize the pain of whatever you’re going through…but I am trying to minimize the enormity of almost all of your trials. Because in the hands of our Savior, your trials are so small. In the hands of our Savior, my trials are so small.
In the hands of our Savior, any trial is so small.
If He has overcome the cross and if He has called us to take up our cross then why should we be surprised and overwhelmed when it gets hard. And if He has endured and triumphed over the cross, then surely His power is great enough to help us live victorious and joyful in all the circumstances of our lives.
So today I’m inviting you to take a step back with me.
Soar with me to a birds eye view of today…of this year…of your whole life…of eternity. And then look at your problem in light of God’s Master plan of rescue and redemption and grace and joy for the earth.
Most of my problems don’t really seem like problems anymore…in fact, they’re looking a lot more like gifts. And I know there will be some problems and pain that we won’t understand till heaven, but can we trust Him enough to thank and rejoice in the midst of them anyways?