SUFFERING – THE PROOF OF SONSHIP
…and if (we) are children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:16
Why is suffering talked about so much in the Bible? Why does being broken, in come circles, seem to be a badge of honor? Some Christians wear it with pride and look down on anyone who has not suffered yet in this life.
Paul has already given me ways to double check whether or not I am God’s child. Why go over the top and talk about suffering, yet again?
The theology of suffering is an expansive topic but sometimes, like the reference to suffering in this verse, I make it too complex.
When someone is a friend in good times, it is easy to invest in the relationship and stay true. The love is not tested yet. Let hard times come to my friend, let my loyalty cost me my own comfort, and the true nature of my love will be revealed.
The story of Jesus proves this. When Jesus was healing, making food out of nothing, and stunning the crowd with one provision after another, there were fickle proclamations of love. They wanted this Messiah and King. He contributed to their physical well-being. But, as soon as He became unpopular for His teaching and became a wanted man, the crowd fled. Under the greatest stress, his disciples went and hid as well.
Suffering proves my fidelity. Each of us has walked, are walking, or will walk through dark times. What happens to my relationship with Jesus when darkness comes? If I blame him and shut him out of my heart, permanently, I might be a fair weather follower; and really, not a follower at all. Jesus, when in agony, did not back up from His Father and blame Him. He drew closer. His faithfulness in suffering proved His Sonship. My faithfulness in suffering proves mine.
This does not mean that if I once turned my face away from God, that I am really an unbeliever. Peter did that. Jesus knew he would do that and told him to not worry about his upcoming sin. (John 14:1) If however, I leave Christ and never return, never miss him, never feel convicted for turning my face the other way, I better examine myself. Fair weather friends never enjoy longevity in relationships and miss out on the joy of intimacy.
I make my default response in suffering – drawing closer to You. Amen