Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Why Suffer

Closing my uncle's apartment in Iowa and distributing his collection of valuables was very emotional. One learns so much about a person's life when going through what they have saved.

This morning during my readings I came across this portion relating to the issue of suffering and the Christian. I thought of my uncle, who had suffered betrayal by someone whom he thought a friend. Also coming to mind were numerous committed Christians who had suffered seemingly without reason. If you have ever asked the question, "Why suffer?" I believe you will find this writing by Gene Edward interesting.

The Lord did not complete His suffering. It has been given to the church to complete the sufferings of Christ. Suffering not yet filled up waits out there for you. You see, the body is also Christ. The body, which is the church, is part of that Christ. There is suffering out there yet to be endured, yet to be known, yet to be embraced by that part of Christ which is called the body. We all thank God that no one member of that body will ever have to know and endure all the sufferings that Jeus Christ experienced while living on earth. But each one of us--because we are in some mysterious way one with Him--will taste some part of His experience of suffering.

One within your fellowship may know ridicule. Another will partake of physical pain, another will know rejection, perhaps someone else may taste what it means to be vilified and verbally, socially crucified. And perhaps, just perhaps, there will be one within your fellowship who will touch that awful thing which Christ touched in that last moment on the cross: the dark night of the spirit.

There is one aspect of the cross that none of us will ever know--praise God! We will never know what it means to be the sin-bearer. That is one thing which I will never experience, nor will you. He and He alone has experienced that. He experienced the one thing that none of us should have escaped, and the one thing which He need never have known. He became the sin-bearer and thereby took suffering that was truly mine.

Now you must step into your place in the body of Christ, and you must receive and you must bear some segment of the suffering which is Christ's--that is, that part of Christ which is the church.

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