June 12, 2015
READ: Philippians 3:10-11
I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death (v.10).
As a missionary served in Estonia, many deaf people received salvation in Jesus. The new believers began praying fervently for the ability to hear, and, miraculously, two were healed! But then, as the missionary recalls, “Immediately these two brothers were on the outside of the deaf community.” That’s when the remaining deaf believers in Jesus recognised their deafness was a gift—something that allowed them to reach a segment of society in a personal way.
Deep struggles do something to you—they initiate you into the community of the scarred. My wife and I have discovered this also. Having struggled to have a family with no success, and having shared our story in a book, we’ve entered a new community of people who seem more open than ever to discover the Source of our strength. Empathy alone doesn’t qualify you for entry into this group, only personal suffering does—only scars.
The resurrected Jesus has scars in His hands (John 20:27). These scars assure the community of believers that He truly knows and understands our suffering (Hebrews 4:15). Paul wrote that Jesus’ resurrection power is available now, not just when we die (Philippians 3:10); and he stated that he wanted to suffer with Christ too, “sharing in his death” (v.10) for the sake of the church (Colossians 1:24). Biblical Christianity holds both resurrection power and suffering together in this life. Until our literal resurrection from death, our own suffering can be powerfully redeemed into service to others in the community of the scarred.
365-day-plan: Matthew 2:1-12
Read Romans 8:15-17 to see how, as God’s children, we are to share not just in His glory but His suffering too.
What does the fact that Jesus suffered for you mean to you today? How can God redeem your pain into service to others?