Accept Suffering

It goes against our nature, it seems, to accept the reality that we are called to suffer. From an early age we fight against our parents when they use the unwanted ‘no’ in response to our requests. Even as adults we have tantrums when we do not get our way, at work and among our family and Church friends. Nonetheless, as Christians we are called to accept our suffering.

Timothy, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier on service gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to satisfy the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hardworking farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will grant you understanding in everything. Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descended from David, as preached in my gospel, the gospel for which I am suffering and wearing fetters like a criminal. But the word of God is not fettered. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus with its eternal glory.

1st Timothy 2.1-10

For Saint Paul, suffering was the calling of a good soldier. More than accepting our suffering, we are called to share in the suffering of our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Believing we should be spared from suffering when so many holy men and women suffer for Christ, is a sign of pride.

Today the Church commemorates the memory of Saint Philip the Metropolitan of Moscow. He not only suffered as an ascetic. He suffered at the hands of the Church and Tzar alike. Much like Saint Nektarios, he was maligned by senior members of Church leadership. He refused to remain silent in the face of great sins done by the Tzar. He was eventually martyred for Christ.

Take a moment and read the brief explanation of his life and you will notice he did not seek out glory nor power. He was content as a quiet monk. He was forced to be an abbot. He was forced to be a Metropolitan. In both cases, even though he did not want the role, he faithfully fulfilled his role. Even having the chance to resign as Metropolitan, rather than resign to save his life, he committed to fulfill his ministry faithful to Christ.

For us Christians today, many of us seek out positions in which they can ‘make a difference’ which is also a sign of pride. We naively think that ‘if’ we had power, we could somehow change the way people think about God and His Church.

Allow yourself to be inspired by the story of Saint Philip and be encouraged by the urged of Saint Paul. Be committed to living a faithful life in Christ, as a good soldier. Don’t seek out power to change others. Focus on changing yourself. Don’t seek out positions to avoid suffering. Accept the suffering you have been given, as a good soldier. Endure everything for Christ and you will obtain your salvation.

1 Comment

  1. Julie on January 9, 2024 at 1:31 pm

    I can’t even explain how relevant this is for me today! Pray for my pride to be quashed.

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