We are told that the Captain of our salvation was made perfect through suffering; therefore we who are sinful and who are far from being perfect must not wonder if we are called to pass through suffering too. Shall the head be crowned with thorns while the other parts of the body enjoy only comfort and ease? Must Christ pass through seas of His own blood to win the crown while we walk to heaven dry-shod in silver slippers? No; our Master's experience teaches us that suffering is necessary, and the true-born child of God must not, would not, escape it if he could.
But there is one very comforting thought in the fact of Christ's "being made perfect" through suffering--it is that He can have complete sympathy with us. He is not a high priest who is "unable to sympathize with our weaknesses."1 In this sympathy of Christ we find a sustaining power. One of the early martyrs said, "I can bear it all, for Jesus suffered, and He suffers in me now; He sympathizes with me, and this makes me strong." Believer, grasp this thought in every agonizing experience. Let the thought of Jesus strengthen you as you follow in His steps. Find a sweet support in His sympathy; and remember that to suffer is an honorable thing--to suffer for Christ is glory. The apostles rejoiced that they were counted worthy to do this. Just so far as the Lord shall give us grace to suffer for Christ, to suffer with Christ, just so far does He honor us.
The jewels of a Christian are his afflictions. The regalia of the kings whom God has anointed are their troubles, their sorrows, and their griefs. Let us not, therefore, shun being honored. Let us not turn aside from being exalted. Griefs exalt us, and troubles lift us up. "If we endure, we will also reign with him."2