Partakers of His sufferings
Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings. 1 Peter 4:13.
If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all; they are meant to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what transpires in other souls so that you will never be surprised at what you come across. ‘Oh, I can’t deal with that person.’ Why not? God gave you ample opportunity to soak before Him on that line, and you ‘barged off’ because it seemed stupid to spend time in that way.
The sufferings of Christ are not those of ordinary men. He suffered “according to the will of God,” not from the point of view we suffer from as individuals. It is only when we are related to Jesus Christ that we can understand what God is after in His dealings with us. It is part of Christian culture to know what God’s aim is. In the history of the Christian Church the tendency has been to evade being identified with the sufferings of Jesus Christ; men have sought to procure the carrying out of God’s order by a short cut of their own. God’s way is always the way of suffering, the way of the ‘long, long trail.’
Are we partakers of Christ’s sufferings? Are we prepared for God to stamp our personal ambitions right out? Are we prepared for God to destroy by transfiguration our individual determinations? It will not mean that we know exactly why God is taking us that way; that would make us spiritual prigs. We never realize at the time what God is putting us through; we go through it more or less misunderstandingly; then we come to a luminous place and say—‘Why, God has girded me, though I did not know it!’