"I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church" - Colossians 1:24
Somehow, Christ's sufferings continue even though Christ himself can no longer suffer. When Christ-followers suffer for his sake, we share in the same suffering he endured. This is a bittersweet gift, but it comes with a huge promise: there is ultimate hope since the Resurrection revealed that suffering and pain will one day be defeated.
In North America, we're not called upon too frequently to suffer directly for Christ. But we are part of the larger body of Christ and so this Scripture should spur my prayer life. I think of folks in places like China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Cuba who are suffering directly for Christ. It's important that I pray the truths of this verse on their behalf on a regular basis.
Lord, I do call to mind believers who are suffering directly because they share your name and proclaim their faith in you. Give them this moment courage because you understand their suffering and one day, because of the Resurrection, you will ultimately defeat it. Their suffering is not in vain - I pray they will be renewed this moment with that hope. Amen.