I was up early today, something I may suffer for later, but found myself reading Philippians - a book full of wisdom and encouragement. Many of the verses hit home and were words I needed to hear, but nothing jumped out at me more than chapter 1 verse 29, "For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for Him."
Suffering - it's a word we don't like to hear let alone something we have to experience. Thoughts of the possibility can bring us down and hearing of others suffering even causes pain, so how can Paul say it is a privilege?
He isn't simply talking about suffering. He elaborates and says "suffering for Him." It's one thing to suffer because of our selfish desires or thoughtless mistakes, but the suffering he refers to is because of Christ.
Not that Christ causes us to suffer, but living our life for Him will. Our faith will not always be understood by those around us, which in turn will lead to judgement, misunderstanding, labels - suffering in one form or another.
Suffering isn't fun - it hurts, causes doubt, creates tears, but yet it is a privilege. Why? Because when we suffer for Him, it's proof we are living for Him.
I once heard Anne Graham Lotz say, "Jesus took the nails for me" (now that is suffering), so "in this life I need to take some for Him." No matter how hard life gets, we need to remember as the song says, "the darkest day in history is over," Jesus death brought victory. No matter how defeated we feel, joy will come.
So though my lack of sleep may bring suffering later on, it is a privilege - again from Anne, "sleep deprivation is better than God deprivation!!"
Have you suffered lately? Remember it is a privilege!!