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The Cup of Unjust Suffering

By David Kowalski

The disciples had to suspect something was not as they expected when the master of all -- the messiah asked them not to take up thrones to be His followers but to pick up a cross, the very symbol of a hideous and disgraced death (Matthew 10:38, 16:4 etc.). They did not yet realize that messiah's kingdom would be advanced in two stages yet to come: the "now" of God's kingdom rule in our hearts and the "not yet" of His physical reign over the earth.

The day is coming when He shall dispel the darkness but for the present we are lights in that darkness. We are no longer aliens and strangers to God's household (Ephesians 2:19) but we are aliens in this world (1 Peter 1:1, 2:1).

To pick up our cross and follow means to endure unjust suffering from a world that hates the light (John 3:20). We should not be surprised at the fiery ordeals (1 Peter 4:12) we face while living here and there is perhaps nothing more difficult than to patiently endure suffering we do not deserve. God does not promise us fair treatment in this life.

He tells us from the beginning that following Christ will sometimes be painful. "Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?" (Matthew 20:22 NASB).

For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake. (Philippians 1:29 NASB)

That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death. (Philippians 3:10 NASB)

Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. (1 Peter 4:19 NASB)

For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. (1 Peter 2:19-20 NASB)

The missionary Amy Carmichael knew what it meant to follow in Christ's footsteps of suffering (1 Peter 1:21) and penned the following poem:

Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land;
I hear them hail thy bright, ascendant star.

Hast thou no scar?

Hast thou no wound?
Yet I was wounded by the archers; spent,
Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned.

Hast thou no wound?

No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And pierced are the feet that follow Me.
But thine are whole; can he have followed far
Who hast no wound or scar?

Amy Carmichael

Amy Carmichael

© Copyright 2013, David Kowalski. All rights reserved. Links to this post are encouraged. Do not repost or republish without permission.


Written by David Kowalski

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This post was last updated: Feb. 7, 2013