Sharing with the saints in the fellowship of His sufferings

Wow!  I have been blown away by the number of comments that have come our way after sharing some of our story.  I’m thankful to a fellow missionary serving in Thailand, Laura Parker at who posted a comment that I made on her blog about suffering and asked her followers to send us some words of encouragement.  What a blessing it has been to receive words of encouragement and support from people all over the world, and not only from all over the world, but from all different places in their own walk with God.  I have heard from people that have been in similar trials (loss of a child, traumatic experience on the mission field, etc) as well as people who have not known these things personally, but are so fervent in their prayers for those saints who are experiencing such trials.  Really, through every comment that has been posted, along with many scripture references for strength and encouragement, I have indeed been strengthened and encouraged.

It reminds me of the verse in 1 Peter that encourages us to resist the enemy “standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”  (1 Pet. 5:9)  No, it does not make the pain any less, but somehow it does make it make a little more sense being reminded that we are not the only ones who have greatly suffered or are greatly suffering.  And there is strength in the fellowship of the saints who have known pain and suffering.  And somehow in our greatest pain, we have come to know Christ that much more.  I would never have chosen this particular path to knowing Jesus more intimately, but this is just how it is.

That reminds me of one of my favorite verses that I have recently (I think) written about.  My prayer since first coming to know the Lord at age 19 has been that of Paul’s found in Phillipians 3:10 “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”  Wow!  That is powerful!  Yes, I would always pray that prayer, “Lord, I want to know you!”  But I never really focused much on the part about sharing in the fellowship of His sufferings as being the pathway to truly knowing Him.  And now I understand that more than ever.  And there is a richness of Christ that can be shared among those also who have learned to share in the fellowship of His sufferings.  And for that I am very thankful.  So, may we encourage one another with the Words of God, the very same words that encouraged the New Testament believers to walk into their martyrdom with hearts full of joy and eager expectation.  Yes, may we too be encouraged to walk the path that He has appointed for us.  And may we continue to find strength and encouragement among the saints of God who walk this same journey all throughout the world!

Let me end with a most encouraging verse that reminds us of how it all ends:  “And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.  To Him be the power forever and ever. Amen” (1Peter 5:10-11)  O how wonderful is the outcome!  Let’s press on my brothers and sisters.  Surely, it will be worth it all!  We have a God of ALL GRACE who has called US to His ETERNAL GLORY in CHRIST.  He will RESTORE US.  He will MAKE US STRONG, FIRM, and STEADFAST.  How awesome is that?

2 thoughts on “Sharing with the saints in the fellowship of His sufferings

  1. We keep you in our prayers. One verse I adopted as my years special verse. 11 Chronicles 16:9. The eyes of the Lord roam to and fro the earth strengthening those whose hearts are upon Him. Great to know we do not even have to ask..Love you all

    Diane Langston

  2. Hello. I have been checking back since I first heard the trials you were going through on Laura Parker’s blog. I’m sorry I didn’t write before. I showed your blog to my husband and we prayed for you. We have a new, five month old baby girl and we just couldn’t imagine getting through all you guys went through.

    I just listened to a great sermon from an elder at Cornerstone Simi Valley church in Simi Valley, CA. The elder talked about the chapter 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 where God gives Paul a thorn in his side, “a messenger from satan to torment him and keep him from becoming proud.” It made me think about you guys just now because God says His strength works best in weakness.

    It’s a scary thought for us as believers. We are going through a great season right now and I think, “do I have to look forward to the rug being swept out from under us and some scary trials because my greatest goal is to be as close to Jesus as I can possibly be, to know His heart for me and others and to fulfill the goal He has for my life? It is a scary thought, but the fear subsides when I realize the fact that I HAVE JESUS at all, the victorious warrior from Psalm 110 on my side, means that I am more than a conqueror and can get through anything He allows only because of Him and His great mercy and grace.

    Anyway, we commend you for what you have been going through with your family. I will keep praying for you and your family and loved ones and I look forward to meeting you in heaven some day! God bless you! Stay weak so He can be strong in you!

    All love,
    Paul, Aja and Lily-Grace Thorburn

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