suffering comes in different packages.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. James 1: 2-3
Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8: 17
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4: 8-9
For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him. Philippians 1: 29
there will be times that we suffer and struggle and face difficulties simply because we are human and frail and living in an imperfect world full of the effects of sin. we have to deal with cancer and car wrecks and overtime losses and economic downturns and freak snowstorms that leave us without heat and light for days.
there’s another kind of suffering. it’s the kind that comes as a direct result of following the path where god leading you. it’s the kind of suffering that comes with standing up for christ in hostile environment. it’s the kind of suffering that comes when those that oppose the gospel go on the attack.
should we look for suffering? no. is the way of suffering intrinsically better than the way of peace? i hope not. when christ calls us to pick up our cross and follow, does it mean we are destined for a life of unhappiness and trouble? i don’t see that in scripture.
what i do see is a call to listen for what god is saying…and then courageously obey. no matter what.