Sharing in his suffering in order that we may also share in his glory

In 2011 My wife and I experienced a great tragedy. We were expecting to discover the sex of our second child and were expecting a little girl, her name would be Allie. Unfortunately the same day we found out we were having a second daughter we also were given the tragic news that she would not live. 

Years later, at the end of 2013, God chose to call me to become a preacher and in my first few sermons at my home church I share my experience with suffering and how my wife and I found hope in the only place that hope can ever be found, Jesus Christ. It seems that no one escapes this life without enduring some amount of suffering but how we react to our trials speaks volumes. Will we throw our hands up in despair? Will we question the character of God? Do we understand that God is in control even when it seems like our lives are out of control?

When we endure suffering by placing our trust in Christ it performs a refining work on our soul. Often in the new testament we find the writers encouraging us to rejoice in our trials. It may sound strange and indeed it is that we could ever rejoice while enduring hardship but we can do this because we have a confident hope that the trials will not be the end of us and whatever may come we trust in God to work it together for our good and for his glory.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory. 

-Romans 8:28-30

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

-Romans 8:31-39