Friday, November 06, 2009
The Fellowship of Suffering
“…that I may know Christ, and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings.” (St. Paul)
It’s a little bit odd, but there is nothing like a service project, family vacation or backpacking trip gone horribly wrong to bond people together. And it would seem that the worse the weather/hardship/discomfort, the more intense and long-lasting the bond that is formed in the crucible of suffering.
This helps to explain the otherwise inscrutable desire of Paul to experience the sufferings of Christ. Like his Savior, Paul too had been misunderstood and misquoted, misused and abused, betrayed and abandoned, tried and imprisoned by his moral inferiors. And yet, when the dust of affliction had begun to settle, the net effect was what Paul could only describe as “fellowship” with Jesus.
I think this intimate communion is what Samuel Rutherford had in mind when he penned, “Well’s them who are under crosses, and Christ says to them, ‘Half Mine.’”