The Call To Joy and Pain: Selected Quotes - Introduction (Ajith Fernando)



The Call To Joy and Pain: Selected Quotes - Introduction (Ajith Fernando)

INTRODUCTION

 

"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,

and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions

for the sake of his body, that is, the church,

of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God

that was given to me for you,

to make the word of God fully known,

the mystery hidden for ages and generations

but now revealed to his saints.

To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles

are the riches of the glory of this mystery,

which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Him we proclaim,

warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,

that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

For this I toil,

struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me."

(Colossians 1:24-29)

 

The Bible often describes suffering as an essential aspect of the Christian life. Therefore this should be a theme that appears often in Christian thinking and communication. Yet, with the affluence and technological advancement of the twenty-first century, many have come to regard comfort and covenience as essential human rights. Therefore the biblical message of the essentialness of the cross has become culturally incompatible with the way many think today…

 

Joy is a commonly mentioned blessing of suffering in the New Testament… Something is seriously wrong not when Christians suffer but when they do not have the joy of the Lord…

 

My hope is that this book will help Christians look at suffering as something to be embraced because the sovereign Lord has seen fit to have them endure it. We should not go after suffering, but when it comes, we can look at it through the eyes of faith. Without such an approach to suffering, it will not be possible for us to experience the joy that the Bible describes as an essential aspect of the Christian life…

 

Today in the church we have a lot of emphasis on a therapy for suffering but insufficient emphasis on a theology of suffering, which must form the basis of all therapy for suffering. Without an adequate theology regarding suffering, Christians avoid the cross and move away from their call, and they are also unnecessarily unhappy when they face pain. I trust that this book will help people look at suffering biblically and by so doing help them to be happy and obedient Christians.

 

 



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