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Rejoicing and Suffering

My Sabbath School lesson this morning pointed me to this Scripture:

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.  Philippians 3:10-11

The speaker is a man named Paul who was a devout and dedicated Jew until he “met” Christ on the road to Damascus. You can read the story by clicking here.

The above verse intrigues me because of what Paul is saying.  His relationship with Christ was so intimate that he not only wanted to share his life by knowing the power that Jesus had but he also wanted to share in his sufferings “becoming like Him in His death.”

I see very little in our society of people wanting to share in other people’s sufferings.  When things go well, people are there.  When things don’t go well, people don’t want to be around you.  It’s not always the case. But it’s the case too often.

One might say that the life Christ lived is idealistic. Going the extra mile, turning the other cheek, dying for one’s enemies — who does that anymore? Or, who wants to do it?

But, when someone actually lives it, how magnificent!

I know someone who is an alcoholic. He’s dying. The people he wants close to him the most are the people who purposefully stay away.  I’ve heard comments like “he’s done this to himself.” So what? Can we not offer compassion? Can we not help him in his sufferings?

Paul wanted to share in Christ’ sufferings. Here on this earth we can do that partly by helping our fellow humans in getting through their suffering.

As Christians – it’s the least we can do.

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