Do you recall that verse in I Peter 4 wherein we are commanded to rejoice in suffering?
13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.
I read something today that is helping me with this. The Sweet Side of Suffering by M. Esther Lovejoy. She said on page 76 of her book: “He was reminding me that we had a common bond in suffering. He too had experienced betrayal and rejection. He too had been misunderstood and misrepresented. He too had suffered because of someone else’s sin. While my suffering could never come close to the injustice and agony Christ experienced, in those moments I felt the wonderful bond of shared suffering with Him.
Those moments changed me forever. Christ not only understood my pain, He was inviting me to share in His. I began to weep, not for myself, but for my Savior, for all He had willingly endured for me. Christ chose to suffer. I didn’t. I would never have chosen this! And suddenly the love that would prompt such a choice washed over my own pain and brought relief. My Savior and I were one in a new way. We shared the common bond of suffering.”
Is it just me or is that a tender and, yes, even inviting way to rejoice in suffering? Intimacy with Yeshua; sharing a common bond with Him – could anything be better?