Sharing in His Suffering (Part 1)

Author: G. Kam Congleton — Host: Dylan KraayenbrinkPosted on: May 8, 2023

Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens
Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens
Sharing in His Suffering (Part 1)

READ: ISAIAH 53:2-6; ROMANS 8:17-39; REVELATION 21:3-4

At age seventeen, Joni Eareckson Tada awoke after a diving accident—paralyzed from the shoulders down. Thus began her new life—from a wheelchair. Over time, Joni became known for her contagious joy and her compassionate ministry to others.

As a teen, Joni’s story made me think hard about suffering. Should tragedy strike, how would I react? Where is Jesus in all of this? And so began a lifelong look at suffering in Scripture. We know that sin and suffering invaded God’s good world after humans chose to rebel against God, but what else does Scripture say? Eventually, I noticed some intriguing themes. Today we’ll introduce three themes, and over the next few days we’ll explore each one more deeply. Then we’ll wrap up with a glimpse at the comfort Christ promises. So, let’s dive in!

Theme one: God does not explain suffering, but He never ignores it. Indeed, through Jesus, He invites us to “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Through the cross, Jesus joins us in our pain and offers Himself as our “ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1) and our ultimate Deliverer.

Theme two: Suffering has significance. First, as the body of Christ, we are called to share both in Christ’s sufferings and in His loving comfort. This is not only for our benefit, but also for each other’s benefit (2 Corinthians 1:4-7). Second, God can use our affliction to get our attention and correct any areas where we are straying from His good ways, ultimately drawing us nearer to Himself (Hebrews 12:5-12).

Theme three: Through the Holy Spirit, God is with us in our suffering, granting us grace and often hijacking hardship for our good (2 Corinthians 12:8-10).This truth helps explain why the apostles encourage believers to rejoice when facing trials (Romans 5:3-5).

Ultimately, when we encounter suffering, we can remember that Jesus defeated sin and death through His own death and resurrection, and He will heal all suffering at His return. As we rest in this sure hope, we can face whatever suffering lies ahead of us, held by our Savior who suffers with us. • G. Kam Congleton

• What questions do you have about suffering—your own suffering or the suffering of others? 

• To dig deeper into the topic of suffering, you can read Psalm 119:65-72 and James 1:2-4.

For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:5 (NIV)