For those of us that are experiencing the Refiner’s fire through suffering, our hearts often turn to the Scriptures for the spiritual courage and understanding to endure.
If we only endure, but don’t have spiritual understanding of the purpose and power of suffering, we will not be totally refined.
If we have spiritual understanding, but do not use the power of the Spirit to endure, we will not be totally refined.
I have collected various thoughts from well-known and beloved Bible teachers to encourage me on the journey when my faith is weak. How often a passage, such as the following, will bring me to tears and make me thankful that the Lord chose to bless me with cancer.
We are told that the Captain of our salvation was made perfect through suffering, therefore we who are sinful, and who are far from being perfect, must not wonder if we are called to pass through suffering, too.
Shall the head be crowned with thorns, and shall the other members of the body be rocked upon the dainty lap of ease? Must Christ pass through seas of his own blood to win the crown, and are we to walk to heaven dryshod in silver slippers?
No, our Master’s experience teaches us that suffering is necessary, and the true born child of God must not, would not, escape it if he might.
But there is one very comforting thought in the fact of Christ’s “being made perfect through suffering”—it is, that he can have complete sympathy with us. Hebrews 4:15, “He is not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.”
In this sympathy of Christ we find a sustaining power. One of the early martyrs said, “I can bear it all, for Jesus suffered, and he suffers in me now; he sympathizes with me, and this makes me strong.” Believer, lay hold of this thought in all times of agony. Let the thought of Jesus strengthen you as you follow in his steps.
Find a sweet support in his sympathy; and remember that, to suffer is an honourable thing—to suffer for Christ is glory. The apostles rejoiced that they were counted worthy to do this.
Just so far as the Lord shall give us grace to suffer for Christ, to suffer with Christ, just so far does he honour us. The jewels of a Christian are his afflictions. The regalia of the kings whom God hath anointed are their troubles, their sorrows, and their griefs. Let us not, therefore, shun being honoured. Let us not turn aside from being exalted. Griefs exalt us, and troubles lift us up.
2 Timothy 2:12, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.”