The Local Church — People to Suffer With

Here is the fourth post on the local church from Desiring God:

The Local Church: People to Suffer With

(Author: Jeff Lacine)

But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together… (1 Corinthians 12:25-26)

In March of 2008 my wife almost lost her life giving birth to our second daughter. She was in excruciating pain as the doctors moved quickly to stop the bleeding. Four blood transfusions could not keep up with the 3500 cc’s she was losing.

She was rushed into emergency surgery. I wasn’t sure that I would ever see her again, this side of eternity. As I paced anxiously in the waiting room with my newborn child I saw my pastor walk through the door. He traveled well over an hour to embrace me in my pain, to pray for me and read a Scripture passage to me. Another friend of ours came and prayed through the night. Dozens of people from the church visited us and brought us meals.

A few weeks later my wife had more postpartum blood loss needing two more transfusions and another surgery. It took her months to recover. It was an extremely difficult time for us, but the church was there to suffer with us. We were not suffering alone.

Though Christians suffer, in the local church they are to suffer together. It is the way God designed it. Just as Christ entered into a world of suffering and ministered to us, we also should enter into one another’s suffering.

Suffering with a believer is an entirely different experience than suffering with an unbeliever. Believers serve to remind us of the immovable hope grounded in the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. Christians can share deeply in each other’s pain, and do it in such a way that nurtures immense hope.

Give yourself to the local church to suffer with those who are suffering, and allow others to come alongside you in your suffering.

Posts in This Series

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