This life is transitory, ephemeral, and we will face adversity while on this earth. But we have fellowship in Christ’s sufferings, a truth that ought to lead us to cultivate a greater longing for our eternal home. Death does not have the final say, and so anything we do in this life has an eternal impact. Remembering that our life has been transformed by Christ in us, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27), teaches us to see every moment as redemptive. Imbedding our story in the Great Story brings us hope.
Fellowship in Christ’s Sufferings
We are pilgrims, wayfarers, exiles, and sojourners on this earth. As a result, it is the crucible of adversity that shapes us. We do not belong in this world, which is passing away, and the world persecutes us because of that. Our hope is in Christ—in knowing Him and the power of His resurrection, and having fellowship in Christ’s sufferings (Philippians 3:10).
The good news is that the sufferings of this world are nothing compared to the glory to come (2 Corinthians 4:17–18). We have moved from death to life, darkness to light, sin to righteousness, and alienation to intimacy. Jesus Christ experienced death so that we might have this life and light and intimacy with God. He gave us His righteousness so that we would no longer be condemned, but that we would be righteous in Him.
The Upside-Down Way of Life
When we come to Christ, we realize that the world is not about us. Instead of enthroning ourselves, we enthrone Him. We die daily, taking up our cross and following after Christ, having fellowship in Christ’s sufferings. This is difficult, but it is also good, because our hope is in Christ and in our eternal home with Him.
In Christ, we realize that the values of the world are turned upside down. Instead of glorifying our name, we exalt His name. We seek not our own reputation, but His kingdom. We seek not our own will, but His. When we pray the Lord’s prayer, we enthrone God and remember that He is in control of the day.
We don’t even know what our best interests are, which is why we need to submit our daily plans to Him. When God doesn’t answer prayer the way we want Him to, when our desires aren’t fulfilled, our faith does not have to be shaken. Submitting to God’s will is a comfort. It enables us to trust God and surrender to His authority rather than our own perceived autonomy.
The Compassion of God
Part of God’s compassion on our lives is working our adversities for good. Our fellowship in Christ’s sufferings is not wasted; it is working eternal good. Consider the examples of the people whom Jesus healed in the Gospels. The disciples often viewed them as interruptions, while others deemed them unworthy of healing. But Jesus chose to heal them, and their suffering and subsequent healing pointed to the greater spiritual healing that is in Christ. God did not waste their trials; He used them to glorify Himself.
As we live, let us remind ourselves of who we are in Christ and what He is doing in our lives. No moment is wasted; nothing is in vain. Let us define ourselves by the Word and not by the world, recognizing our true satisfaction and security as a child of God.
For more on this topic, read Ken Boa’s eternal perspectives trilogy: