Sharing in His Sufferings 5
Sharing in His Sufferings 5
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:12—NIV)
We are coheirs with Jesus Christ if we are willing to share His sufferings.
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:17—NIV)
Christ will divide the inheritance with us. The inheritance is people. But we must be strong in the Lord, and we must be willing to pour out our life in the service of God. We must deny ourselves for Christ's sake and His Gospel's.
We may not think of people as being the kind of inheritance we would prefer. Perhaps we are pleased with the idea of a mansion in glory with a backyard filled with diamonds. What nonsense!
The only inheritance worth having is people! To inherit one person is better than ten thousand heavens. Jesus knows this well and tells us all about it in the Song of Solomon.
Christ has inherited a vast number of people and the farthest reaches of the earth for His possession. He is delighted to share the inheritance with His younger brothers, but only if we are willing to walk in the power of His resurrection and be brought into conformity to His sufferings and death.
Remembering that the Prophets did not write in chapters, we pass now to a continuation of the description of God's dealings with His suffering servants.
"Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband," says the LORD. (Isaiah 54:1—NIV)
We understand from the Scriptures that for a woman to be barren in those days was a terrible affliction, perhaps in some cases a tragedy. Yet God invites the barren woman to burst into song, to shout for joy, for she shall have many children.
We think of Sarah, of Hannah, of Elizabeth. When God is ready to do a great work He first causes barrenness. He tears apart and then binds up.
If we would serve the Lord we must accept the fact that God often brings us low before He raises us up. This is the way the Lord works.
If we are being denied the joys that ordinarily would be ours, and we are a servant of the Lord, then we are to rejoice mightily in the assurance that God is doing something special. He is preparing to lift us up.
There was nothing wrong with Hannah's ability to bear children. We know this because she had several children after Samuel was born.
But Samuel was a special child from an early age. So was John the Baptist. God has His ways and they often are not our ways.
The average woman may have many children. But would you like to try to count the children of the barren Sarah?
To be continued. Sharing in His Sufferings 6