Suffering is a Doorway, Not a Dead End

Suffering for Christ is the call of every Christian. It is like a doorway we cannot get around, but must walk through. “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22); “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12); “it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake” (Philippians 1:29).

There are lots of reasons to be modest about whatever suffering we are going through. For example:

  • We don’t suffer as much as we could or probably should.
  • We don’t suffer nearly as much as our Savior did, and he suffered in total innocence.
  • Compared to grandiose examples of suffering for Christ in church history, like Christians being fed to lions, our suffering can seem very small-scale and ordinary.
  • Oftentimes our suffering is not for the sake of righteousness but simply part of living in a fallen world—or even a result of our own poor decisions.

But after all the caveats and cautions are in, it remains the case that all Christians do in fact suffer for Christ. Sometimes its relatively small things like if you endure gossip or mistreatment without retaliation, persevere in a difficult calling or wait up in the hospital with your non-Christian friend even though you have work early in the morning. Sometimes it’s much more severe.

But inevitably, one way or another, the door opens, and God calls us to walk through it.

In that moment, one of the most helpful things is to remember what is on the other side of that door. Suffering for Christ is not a dead end (though it might feel like it!). Rather, it is always a doorway to greater joy and life. Here are three ways that are so.

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