For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
A question that is often asked, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” is answered by Dr. Snyder in the following paragraphs.
“What Paul is saying in this passage can easily slip by us in a too-quick reading. Suffering has been granted to us. It has been given or assigned to us just as it has been given or assigned to us to believe. (That’s right, even our faith has been granted to us.) This goes against our grain because it just doesn’t seem right to us that God would actually bring suffering our way, particularly if we’ve been raised with the view that expects only prosperous and happy times to come from God’s hand.
“But the suffering referred to is what has been granted on behalf of Christ, our Lord. Jesus himself promised his followers that just as he was persecuted and abused and suffered in this life, so they shouldn’t expect anything easier. As for the Master, so for us his servants. It can’t be any other way. Paul is saying, ‘It happened to Jesus, you saw it happening to me, too, and now it’s happening to you.’
“….The solution is not to imagine that life is other than what it is, but to understand and rejoice that in the midst of our troubles and persecutions stands the God who never abandons nor forsakes us.
What we really need to keep in mind at all times is that the suffering we go through has a purpose. It’s not random or meaningless. It comes with an assignment of its own—to mature us, make us stronger, and enable us to bear witness to the world that there is a strength and a comfort available to suffering people who will reach out and receive it. That’s the message a broken and wounded world needs to hear. And if they don’t hear it from us, where else will they hear it?”
TODAY’S PRAYER: Ask God to forgive all the very human whining and complaining and to grant you a vision for the final product of your suffering—a mature, confident, joyful, and useful servant of his kingdom.