Read Romans 8:16-17
16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. (NLT)
We sometimes hear complaints that life is not fair. They are valid complaints. Life is not fair. What is interesting is that we somehow expected life to be fair. Why should life be fair? Given the rebellion of humankind against its creator, we can hardly expect life to be just what it should be. God might be fair, but our disobedience to him renders a lot of life unfair.
There is thinking in some Christian circles that if we only do the right thing by Jesus then we can avoid a lot of life’s unfairness and hardship. The Scriptures repeatedly warn us against such breezy optimism. Jesus himself suffered so we can expect some of that along the way. Texts like this one remind us that suffering is an integral part of discipleship, not some alien intruder which takes us by surprise. Nor some punishment inflicted on us for our real or imagined sins.
We may not like suffering, but we are to expect it. We live in a world in which the evil one is out to distract or demean us. We live in an out-of-shape world where terrible things can and do happen. We may not like to talk about it. We may choose to focus on what is good and right in life. But we cannot ignore this ‘elephant in the room’. If we are to rejoice in the blinding light of the glory of God—we are also to come to grips with the darkness of a world out of touch with that same glory.