Philippians 3:10, 11
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
I love knowing Christ in the power of His resurrection – walking in victory, always smiling, sitting on top of the world. In fact, some would tell us that is what the Christian life is all about: God wants you happy. God wants you victorious. God wants you to be more than a conqueror. And guess what, they are right. God wants us to know Him in the power of His resurrection.
But God also wants us sad (mourn with those who mourn). God also wants us to experience defeat (many saints in the Bible did and grew through it). God also wants us to face living with a “thorn in the flesh” so we learn His grace is sufficient. If we are “to know Christ” in His full orbed glory, suffering is a part of who He is (Isaiah 53:3).
I can almost hear some readers saying, “That’s the only side of Christ I know. I live in the valley of failure, loss, despair and shame.” Here is some good news. Ecclesiastes 3 promises there is a time for everything – laughing and crying, dancing and mourning. You may be in a long, desperately dry and difficult season of life but it will not last forever. The storm will pass. The sun will rise again. You will emerge from the longest, darkest tunnel if you just keep walking.
Right now, embrace the suffering aspect of Christ’s glory. The day will come when you know Him in the power of His resurrection. But without a cross there can be no resurrection. What you learn in the valley enables you to minister to others when you emerge from the darkness. Commit it to Him and your pain will not be wasted.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 MSG
God comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.
BONUS – A Favorite Poem of Mine:
“I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chattered all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow;
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When Sorrow walked with me.
― Robert Browning Hamilton