Let me share some Bible verses which many people wish were never written. They are not the kind of verses that make us want to sing and dance and praise God and yet I would suggest they are some of the most important verses for us to understand and embrace.
Romans 5:3-4 “… we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
1 Peter 4:12-13 “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”
James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
These are just a few of the hundreds of verses in the Bible which remind us that suffering and pain are part of our walk with God in this broken and dysfunctional world. Every disciple of Christ will experience the sufferings of Christ to some extent. Usually those closest to the front line of ministry are the ones who experience the most pain and suffering – even to the point of losing their life in the name of Jesus Christ.
I have not endured anywhere near what others have in the fulfilment of their calling in Christ. But I can remember many times when the pain seemed overwhelming and the desire to press on was incredibly low. God met me powerfully at one of those times many years ago and I recorded that encounter in detail in my journal at the time. This then became a song which God has reminded me of many times since. Perhaps He will use these words to remind you also of the jewel of suffering. Here God’s heart and His word to you today:
The Jewel of Suffering
My child I know you’re hurting, I share your pain each day
your cries for help are ringing in My ears
but when you said you’d follow Me and serve Me as your God
you chose the road of suffering and tears.
Abundant life I’ll give you, if the road of death you choose
there is no other way for you to go
the road I chose for My own Son, was paved with pain and death
if you follow Him My glory you will know
So don’t despise suffering my child – it is a priceless jewel that I give
and you’ll never share My glory if you never share My pain
so choose that road with Jesus now and live.
For the joy set before Him, My Son endured the cross
so join Him there each day upon that tree
when you crucify the flesh and let Me live through you
My glory and My power you will see.
I’ve seen this broken spirit, I’ve heard these cries before
as My only Son cried out in agony
He struggled in that garden as His heart was torn with grief
but chose the road of death and set you free
My Father-heart just longed to take the cup from Him that night
but my plan and purpose He had always known
and all my other children waited for My Son to say:
‘Father, not my will but Yours alone.’
© 1996 Robert Griffith