One of the hardest things for Christians to understand is how to find joy in suffering. Yet we know it can be done, because James tells us, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials” (James 1:2). And Peter says, “To the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing” (1 Peter 4:13). What’s more, with regard to persecution, Jesus said, “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great” (Matt. 5:12). But how is this possible?
Paul offers a clue in Philippians, where he talks about “the fellowship of [Jesus’] sufferings” (Phil. 3:10). In this part of the letter, the apostle’s objective is to know Christ and know Him thoroughly. If the Lord is a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, then can we truly know Him while ignoring these attributes?
When we view hardships as windows into the heart of our Savior, our perspective changes: Suffering begins to feel more like an opportunity than a curse. It gives us access to intimate fellowship with Jesus that comes only through shared suffering.
Are you struggling in a trial today? I pray for your strength to endure so that you might discover more of who Jesus truly is.