Suffering and Sacrifice

We’ve been studying Romans 8 in church recently, in small group, we looked at v16-18.

Romans 8:16–18

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (ESV)

So here are some of my thoughts on suffering. Suffering is inherently evil, bad. I say this because suffering will not exist in the age to come, in which we live glorified on a glorified earth. In that age there will be no sickness, no death, no dying. God will wipe away ever tear and we will be in perfect union with Him and with each other forever. I long for those days. But what about now? How are we to think about suffering, and specifically, how is suffering, which is bad, related to sacrifice, which is good?

So here’s what I wrote in my journal (excuse me if it’s unedited): “Should we seek suffering? No. But we should seek sacrifice. We should seek sacrifice, not suffering. We choose sacrifice, when we intentionally choose to say no to a good thing in this world. It could be for our spiritual growth, fo the sake of giving to other, for building God’s Kingdom. We choose sacrifice. But suffering comes to us. It’s an external thing that comes upon us. We don’t want it, didn’t choose it. Sacrifice is our fit to god. Is suffering God’s gift to us? No. And yet, God in His wisdom allows and even at times brings suffering to us, for our good, to call out to us, to chasten us, to discipline us, to mentor us, to form us into Christ-likeness.

And both sacrifice and suffering are the family business, they are what Jesus id while on earth. He suffered at the hands of sinful men when He offered his life as a sacrifice for our sins. He worshipped the Father in sacrifice even as suffering came upon him. Let me be like Him.”