“I want to know Christ—yes,
to know the power of his resurrection
and participation in his sufferings,
becoming like him in his death…”
Philippians 3:10 (NIV)
Perhaps you have heard of Helen Roseveare M.D. , three time speaker at plenary sessions at the Urbana Missionary Conference. A world class missionary in the Congo who suffered much for her Saviour during 20 years in Africa. Her sweet personality, seen in many YouTube postings, is such a blessing as she relates her love and life for Jesus.
One of Helen’s characteristic comments was “Thank you Lord for trusting me with this suffering even though you may never tell me why,” Helen said she learned to accept suffering during the horrors she experienced at the hands of rebel soldiers during a 5 month captivity.
The night she was converted the speaker at the conference she attended gave her a Bible and wrote in it Phil. 3:10. He then told her that she had come to “know Christ” and that years later she might have the privilege of suffering for Him. What a thing to say to someone who had been a believer for an hour! A privilege to suffer for Christ? But the statement was prophetic.
Would the average Christian in the western world count it a privilege to suffer for Christ? Would any of us desire to participate in our Lord’s suffering? Does Paul have a mental disorder evidenced in his desire for pain? Not at all! Our Lord said, as recorded in John 16:33, that His people would suffer in this life. Thus, it should be no surprise when sorrow comes knocking at our door.
Do you know someone who could use your tender compassion? Perhaps they have lost their job, their home, a loved one. Can you minister grace into their lives? Are you blind to the grief all around you? Could you drive them to a doctor’s appointment, a diagnostic test? Could you do grocery shopping for them? What about sending a loving email including a precious promise from Scripture?
If you are suffering you could send to someone who is also suffering a brief account of how you have been helped during your journey with pain. Let them lean on your faith. Weep with those who weep Paul wrote (Romans 12:15). Not giving a lot of advice but rather showing your pain at their grief can be a means of grace. Do not waste your suffering but rather use it for the benefit of others who also suffer. Find someone today who needs your help and come alongside them to gently lift them up. As you help the weary you may find your own pain diminish and your joy in the Lord greatly increased.
I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow;
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When Sorrow walked with me.”
― Robert Browning Hamilton
“If Jesus Christ be God and died for me
then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”
― C.T. Studd