"For you have been granted [the privilege] for Christ's sake not only to believe in (adhere to, rely on, and trust in) Him, but also to suffer in His behalf." Philippians 1:29 (Amplified Bible)
If I had it my way, I would never allow suffering of any kind to be part of my life.
I love comfort. I love happiness. I love laughter.
I dread winter's cold and ice. I dread good-byes. I dread conflict in my relationships. I dread funerals.
But there are several observations I have made in the forty-two years that I have had breath in my lungs. I would not have an appreciation for what is good in my life without the contrast of what has been difficult in the trials and the sufferings I have been privileged to experience.
I would not be able to empathize with another's pain if I had none of my own.
I would not fully experience joy without sorrow's kiss.
I would not welcome the light of morning without the darkness of night.
I would not know how to measure perseverance's growth without a struggle.
I would not have won the prize without having to run the race.
I would not relish the thrill of victory without the agony of the fight.
I would not understand the worth without having to pay the cost.
I will not experience the crown without a cross.
Jesus, how thankful I am that You are known as the Man of Sorrows. Thank You that You are fully acquainted with grief. I praise You that You chose to experience the struggle of being a human being while remaining perfect in your diety. And the suffering You accepted as You walked and lived on this earth has allowed You to be the perfect Savior for the broken world You for which You came to redeem.