Suffering…what can we make of it? Why do we go through it? How do we reconcile it with a merciful loving and just God? What good can come out of it? The bible says much good can come…see how St. Paul reflects on this idea.
“Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.” Colossians 1:24
John Schoenheit says in a paraphrase of what St. Paul says about suffering as it relates here in Colossians:
“Now when I see the full extent of God’s mercy, now when I ponder over His mighty work of reconciliation, I cannot choose but to rejoice in my sufferings. Yes, I Paul the persecutor. I Paul the feeble and sinful am permitted to supplement. I do not shrink from the word to supplement the afflictions of Christ despite all that he underwent. He, the master, has left something still for me the servant to undergo, and so my flesh is privilege to suffer for his body, his spiritual body, the church.”
I, Mama, woke up thinking about verse 24..and it was hard to figure out… but this particular website I found out…plus many others served up some pretty good understanding of what it means .
John Schoenheit says:
“I want to tell you that as I was studying this verse and praying about this verse and asking the Lord to show me what this verse meant, he gave me this picture. I am not saying that this picture is God breathed; it is just what I believe the Lord gave me to help understand this verse. Maybe it will help you, too. I played racquetball and squash in college and occasionally played handball. The Lord showed me a cement wall like you would see at the end of a racquetball or squash court. It had a super ball thrown against it. That super ball bounced off that cement wall and bounced all over the room. The Lord showed me that if we refuse to accept the sin that has been dealt to us, the unfairness, the abandonment, the lack of love, or the abuses, and they pile up as bitterness and hurt in our heart, then those hurts bounce off and go around hurting other people. That is pretty commonly known in our society in what we call hurting people, hurt people. One picture that the Lord gave to me was a cement wall and the super ball was thrown against it. The super ball bounced all over the place. He then showed me the same wall again with a lump of modeling clay that was thrown against it. It went “thud,” and it stuck right on the wall. That was as far as it went. The Lord just gave me the understanding that “John, you can get hit with sin and become angry, bitter, hurt, and all that will bounce out and hurt others, or you can simply take it and between you and me, deal with it.” Ladies and gentlemen, you can learn like Paul to rejoice in the midst of the sufferings, and you can be proud to participate in the redemptive process. Like Paul, you can fill up in your flesh what is lacking in regard to Christ’s affliction because sin is still out there. The world’s redemption is not complete. Sin is still there. Hurt is still there. Pain is still there. You have a choice. You are going to experience it, so you have a choice. You can stop it in you and learn to work it out with you and the Lord and just realize that it is part of the redemptive process, and the Lord will heal you. The other choice is to be all angry and bitter about the hurt, the pain, and the injustice of life and build that up in your heart. Eventually, it will bounce off and start hurting other people.” so says John S.
Then, like him , I read, Philippians 3:10
“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings,”
St. Paul said I want to share in the “fellowship” of Christ sufferings. What is this fellowship he speaks of?
When Paul, of the highest of Pharisees, set himself up as judge of this “new way” sect …this group of Christ followers….and he began hunting them down. But, as God would have it, as he was on his way on the road to Damascus to slay Christians…the Lord stopped him completely in his murderous campaign… by first blinding him. How metaphoric of the Lord…such a teaching…but his physical blindness didn’t last long. For God was showing and giving him new “vision.”
Wow…Jesus first asked Paul this:
“He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
Then the voice of God told him where to go and what he was going to do…and that specifically was to suffer for him…suffer to forgive himself, suffer to bring the gospel to the gentiles…to be part of the redemptive process…wow and wow!
“You see, you are part of the Body of Christ, and the redemptive process of Christ because the redemption of the world is still occurring. That is why the world around us is still fallen, and that is why people are in the world are still getting saved.” .
I Mama, believe this also…there is a connection of Christ sufferings with ours..it is a mystical union…a oneness, but in detail-still a great mystery!
If we , lovingly and willingly give our sufferings to Christ…and in return – turns our, as someone once said, “scars into stars.”
Remember Romans 8:28…where he promises…that everything will work together for good…and that includes or sufferings…dear one..don’t waste them…give them to God, on behalf of your own failings and sinfulness but give them for the sake of your family, loved ones and friends…for that matter the whole church.
Here are more scriptures on it:
2 Corinthians 1:3 and 4
(3)” Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
(4) who comforts us in all our troubles,”
I, Mama, believe that of bitterness and our hurt…we place it in his cup of perfect and complete redemption. Then we do our part…cause we are one with Him…we unite our sufferings with our Lord. We do it every time we partake of the Lords table!
John Schoenheit quotes more scripture and says:
” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
(3) Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
(4) who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
(5) For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”
It is not just that we just stop in Colossians that ‘I fill up in my flesh what was lacking in regard to Christ’s sufferings.” It is not just that I have to suffer, and that is the end of it. In verse five it says, “The sufferings of Christ are going to over flow into our lives.’ That is because the world is not fully redeemed yet, and Christ is still suffering, personally and through his Body. You and I as members of the Body of Christ are part of that suffering, and we are part of that redemptive process. You and I are filling up in our flesh what was lacking in Christ’s affliction.
Do you know what? That is not the end of the story. It is not that I am being beaten up and beaten up and beaten up. The end of the story is in verse five.”
2 Corinthians 1:5 says,
‘ For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows…’ so says John S.
Mama rejoices in “this comfort” in tribulation.
How about :
1 Corinthians 15:58
“…you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you…,”
John Schoenheit remembered that too in his commentary.
The Apostle Paul wrote that. We want to be able to rejoice in what we suffer for others in this life even though we are suffering from them. We do this because it is part of the redemptive process that we are suffering for them also.
Let’s look again dear ones…oh Holy Spirit open the eyes of our heart and the understanding of our mind-natural and supernatural…
“Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.”
It will help us to get over anger and bitterness if we realize that taking it and giving it to the Lord, not harboring it and being upset about it, that we are actually participating in the redemptive process, says John S.
Now Schoenheit recaps :
“Our goal is to become like Christ. What stands in the way are things that are in our heart that keep us from being like Christ. Those things will try to work their way out of our heart. Those things that are in our heart will come out of our heart even if we do not like what we see, such as anger and bitterness. We want to change our heart. We want to purify it so that we can be like Christ. We are going to have to have confidence that the change will occur. We want to pray for God’s help and get God involved. We want to realize how serious the situation is, and we have to prepare to work hard, and even take drastic action if it is necessary to change our hearts.
About the hurt and pain and abandonment and abuse that you have already suffered that has produced anger and bitterness, Ephesians 4:31 says to get rid of it. It is going to help you get rid of it if you understand it. You will understand it better if you understand that you are part of the redemptive process. You and I have the privilege of helping to redeem this world from its sin. An awesome privilege is it not?”
[Excerpts taken from this website: “Truth or Tradition” by John Schoenheit]
Hope you are blessed from this sharing of my faith. It is a gift that God measures out to every man. He also measures out by allowing us to partner with Him in His sufferings. For Suffering is actually, to put it delicately, is a gift from God. Jesus says lastly if we choose to, willingly, follow him we will suffer. For Jesus himself says, “if they persecuted me, they will persecute you.” If we say yes to God daily, we will suffer the fallout the the result of our journey with Him. But we offer it up as a sacrifice of praise unto His glory and for the ultimate purpose the salvation of souls. For we are one body in Christ and when one part of His body suffers…the whole body feels it. But together we can move forward this whole beautiful glorious body of Christ in faith, in hope and in love. In the end our prize is our Jesus, the BRIDEGROOM of our souls. He sanctifies us through His Precious blood, making our offerings perfect. He accepts our imperfections now through His perfect offering and makes us whole, our (w)holiness now is accepted because we have now become His spotless bride.
Dear Father, I thank you and offer up praise for Your precious Son Jesus Christ and all He has accomplished on this earth-his birth, His suffering, His death and His rising from the dead. May the Life of Christ positively effect my life, my soul, my mind my suffering and my purpose on this earth, for the glory of God and for the salvation of my soul, my children’s souls and salvation of all souls for a thousand years forward and forever. In Jesus Mighty name I pray. Amen
Lauren Williamson (MamaMiaLove)