In Philippians, Paul said that he would give up everything that he might know Christ and his power, and so that he might “share in his sufferings.”
I’ve never personally faced the kind of suffering and persecution that Jesus and Paul faced.
But, there are believers – brothers and sisters – around the world who are suffering now because of their faith in Christ.
Dave Black describes how he is learning to share in their sufferings (Sunday, February 13, 2011 at 6:37 p.m.):
Recently the devil attacked my church in Bethel Hill, North Carolina. He used an Islamic radical to do so, and the attack was devastating. You did not know there were radical Islamists living in Bethel Hill, NC, did you? Actually, there aren’t any — as far as I know. But when Satan recently attacked one of our Christian brothers in Burji, Ethiopia, it was also an attack on Bethel Hill Baptist Church in the state of North Carolina. How many times do we refer to the persecution taking place “over there”? Yet there is only one Body of Christ. Suddenly I see persecution in a whole new light. When one part of the Body suffers, the entire Body suffers. As never before, we need to be willing to suffer with the persecuted church wherever that persecution might be happening at the moment. It is through co-suffering that we catch a glimpse of the catholicity of the church — one church throughout the world, in which our own local congregation has the privilege to a be a small part.
“All who want to live godly lives in union with Christ Jesus will suffer persecution,” says 2 Tim. 3:12. How dare we think we have a right to be an exception here in North America! It is only because of our faulty ecclesiology that we do not suffer when those in other nations do.
I do not personally know those brothers and sister in Burji, Ethiopia who are suffering (although I did meet one of them briefly).
However, I do personally know brothers and sisters in Alaba, Ethiopia who are suffering and who are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. They’ve had stones throne at them, and they’ve been chased through the city.
If they are being persecuted, then I am being persecuted. Will you join me in sharing in their persecution and suffering?