November 9, 2023
The Bible Edge
Thank You Lord
I Peter 4:13
But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
Suffering is no joyous thing, yet God through Peter tells us to rejoice in sufferings. Part of this rejoicing should probably include the giving of thanks for suffering. I pray you never have to suffer, nor do I desire such for my life. But we will. Suffering will enter. Mild or harsh it doesn’t matter; all suffering is difficult to endure. But as they say, perhaps there is a silver lining about suffering that should be considered and even to be thankful for.
In today’s verse there is a hint of something better yet to come than the suffering endured. …that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. No suffering, no exceeding joy in that day. It is like going to the dentist, but larger, greater, and much more rewarding. If a person has pain caused by problems with their teeth, they go to the dentist, and through much pain, agony, and in suffering the dentist relieves their pain and they come out of the experience in painlessness. The lack of pain overcomes the suffering so that it is just a distant memory. Suffering is replaced by painlessness. One day, when His glory is revealed, our suffering will be replaced by exceeding joy. We won’t even remember or consider it.
II Timothy 2: 11-12 states clearly that if we suffer we will reign with Him: It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:. What a promise! Those who suffer with Him will reign with Him. Suffer what? Suffer death. For the believer in Christ death is merely a transfer from this old earthly, fleshly, and mostly broken existence to a place of eternal blessing where we will reign with Him. What a future we have!
With all this in mind. Suffer patiently, suffer good naturedly, and suffer gladly. This will not end the suffering or even make it more tolerable, but it will keep you topside in your mind and spirit, your soul being satisfied to know that one day you will experience exceeding joy. The suffering will not be recalled, remembered, or even recollected, it will be swallowed up in joy! Joy unspeakable, joy unlimited, joy without end, and joy indescribable.
Suffer with the mindset that Paul must have had when he wrote: Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, (Philippians 3:8).
William T. Howe, Ph.D.