“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.”
The famous preacher D.L. Moody told the story about a Christian woman who was always bright, cheerful, and optimistic, even though she was confined to her room because of illness. She lived in an attic apartment on the fifth floor of an old, rundown building. A friend decided to visit her one day and brought along another woman-a person of great wealth. Since there was no elevator, the two ladies began the long climb upward.
When they reached the second floor, the well-to-do woman commented, “What a dark and filthy place!” Her friend replied, “It’s better higher up.” When they arrived at the third landing, the remark was made, “Things look even worse here.” Again the reply, “It’s better higher up.” The two women finally reached the attic level, where they found the bedridden saint of God. A smile on her face radiated the joy that filled her heart. Although the room was clean and flowers were on the window sill, the wealthy visitor could not get over the stark surroundings in which this woman lived. She blurted out, “It must be very difficult for you to be here like this!” Without a moment’s hesitation the shut-in responded, “It’s better higher up.”
While she could have focused on her suffering, the old woman realized that her pain was temporary and that one day she’d be in Heaven where things were better.
Even so, if we are to endure our suffering and remain faithful to God, we must remember that our trials and pains are only temporary. First Peter 4:13 says, “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.”
According to God’s Word, we can rejoice during times of adversity. Because Christ has suffered and endured adversity on the Cross, we can take part of that suffering and have our sins forgiven. Knowing we are saved and are taking part in Christ’s suffering, we can rejoice!
These trials can be times of joy! When we compare our trials with the trials and suffering our Lord went through, we have no need to be discouraged. God is in control! And because He has suffered the same adversity, we can look to Him for help during these times.
Rejoicing comes through putting your confidence in the Lord. Too often we can face the challenges of life and try to tackle them by ourselves. But God wants us to step aside and let Him work out the difficulties. When we realize that Christ is in control and will take care of the trial, we can rejoice!
Are you rejoicing in your time of adversity? Are you looking to Christ as your source of strength? The way to overcome adversity and to have joy in times of suffering is by looking to the Cross for strength. Spend time reflecting on Christ’s suffering today. Take time to read John 18-19. Then as you go about your day, remember that in light of all that the Lord went through, our sufferings are minimal! –By Dr. Paul Chappell