Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. (2 Corinthians 12:8)

All of life, if it is lived earnestly by faith in the pursuit of God’s glory and the salvation of others, is like the Christian who goes to the disease-ridden village. The suffering that comes is part of the rice of living where you are in obedience to the call of God.

In choosing to follow Christ in the way he directs, we choose all that this path includes under his sovereign providence. Thus, all suffering that comes in the path of obedience is suffering with Christ and for Christ — whether it is cancer or conflict.

And it is “chosen” — that is, we willingly take the path of obedience where the suffering befalls us, and we do not murmur against God. We may pray — as Paul did — that the suffering be removed (2 Corinthians 12:8); but if God wills, we embrace it in the end as part of the cost of discipleship in the path of obedience on the way to heaven.

Written by John Piper
Read more at Desiring God

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