"Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered." Heb. 5:8. Suffering is an unavoidable part of life. Jesus suffered because of His obedience to His Father. We too will suffer as we live in obedience to God. Sometimes suffering happens because of the oppression of others. The children of Israel suffered under the Egyptians as they were forced to make bricks, and had to gather the straw themselves. They cried out to God because of their suffering. Our world has seen many genocides because of the oppression of others. Today, the people of Darfur in Sudan have suffered tremendously. Over 480,000 people have been murdered, and over 1.2 million have been displaced. Sometimes we suffer because of the sins of others. Among those taken captive by Babylon were Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. These were godly young men who would not compromise their faith, yet Daniel was cast into the lion's den, and the 3 Hebrew men were thrown into the fiery furnace. Thankfully, God protected them even through their suffering. Sometimes we suffer because of our own sin. 1 Pet. 4:15 says, "But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters." When we engage in unlawful and criminal activity, we are going to bring suffering upon ourselves. Sometimes we suffer because of calamity. Jesus told the story in Luke 13 about a tower that fell and 18 men were killed. It was an accident that claimed 18 lives. Accidents happen every day, and we suffer from them, at no fault of our own. Jesus said the important thing is that we repent, lest we also perish as they did. In this world we will have tribulation. Just by living in this fallen world, we will encounter suffering. When we live godly in Christ, we will suffer persecution. Paul said, "For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake." Peter wrote his first letter to the pilgrims of the dispersion, scattered because of their faith, 1 Peter 1:1. Repeatedly he addressed their suffering in his letter, and encouraged them. "For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps." Though He was reviled and suffered, He committed Himself to God, and bore our sins on the tree, by whose stripes we were healed! Because of Christ's suffering, we can freely say that, by His stripes, we were healed.
Will you allow suffering to make you more like Jesus?
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