I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God
Suffering. No one signs up for that.
Rejoicing in suffering? It seems hard to comprehend a situation in which that is a feasible outcome.
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Yet suffering seems to be an inescapable part of life; the glory of the Lord is revealed most often through it. Had Paul not suffered as he did, and from 2 Corinthians 11:23-30 we see that Paul had quite the resume for suffering, we may not have given credibility to his claims to want to know “Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings” (Philippians 3:10).
Imagine being imprisoned and finding out that a church you spent three years with started another church in Colosse. All of the suffering would seem worth the salvation of their souls and to find out what a wonderful, loving church they are would multiply that joy.
There are moments where my personal pain and suffering seemed “a momentary and light affliction” when compared to others. There are moments where my suffering allowed me to minister to others who would have never given me the credibility to be able to empathize or relate.
Whether it was the miscarriage of our child, living with chronic fatigue for the last six years, or even the recent imprisonment of my dog after a bite incident, the moments when you are able to comfort others or be comforted is cause for rejoicing.
Questions for Further Thought:
- What is your impression of this passage?
- Can you recall a time of rejoicing in your suffering?
- Verses to Look Up
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.