1. As we look at the life of Paul and his suffering for the gospel, we see that his conversion experience began out of suffering blindness. Suffering if part of the way to live in the power of the resurrection life. Has suffering ever increased your faith?
2. Jesus suffered most of all, by willingly laying down his life unto death for the salvation of the world. He didn’t avoid it, but faced it head on because he knew that it was the way to heal and save the world. What things difficult things or sin in your life are you avoiding facing head on for fear of suffering? What might God be calling you to face in order to bring healing and wholeness in your life or your relationships?
3. Read the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane in Matthew 26:36-46 and note how Jesus asks his friends to support him. Identifying with Christ is refusing to go it alone – we need to courageously invite people into our suffering. Have you ever experienced the isolation of suffering? Have you experienced the support of people in your darkest times and how did that make a difference?
4. Are there people who you trust and are close to who you could invite into your dark times to help support and care for you? Pray that God brings those people into your life.
5. Weekly Challenge: Who is God bringing to your mind who is suffering, who you could be present to this week? What would it look like to be there for them? Maybe just a phone call or email to let someone know you are praying for them?