Affliction’s Reward

burden bearer

Acts 9:5  “Who are You, Lord? ” he said. “I am Jesus, the One you are persecuting,” He replied.

Burden-bearers and suffer-sharers are life-givers.

Consider the term caregiver. My aunt is currently the caregiver for my grandmother. She gives to care and cares to give. But it goes a little deeper than that. Real caregiving is extending her life. Yes, the ambiguous use of the term “her” was intended. The care my aunt is giving certainly is extending my grandmother’s life. But the care being given is also an extension of my aunt’s life. My aunt is extending her life to my grandmother. And it’s more than lending it. She’s giving it. There is no way for my grandmother to pay it back. Simply put, burden-bearers and suffer-sharers are life-givers.

Jesus is the best in that category.

A study of this verse radiates that hope.  Saul is on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians when he’s apprehended by Jesus.  Jesus has already died, resurrected and ascended. He’s not there but His voice is clear, “I am Jesus, the one who you are persecuting.” Wait a second. Jesus isn’t on earth and Saul’s never even met Him. But he’s persecuting Him? Yes. And in that answer is the joyous truth that He is not removed from our plight. Whatever Paul was doing to Christ’s people, He was doing to Christ. Our affliction is His affliction. Our trial is His trial. Our suffering is shared.

When we “share the suffering of Christ” (1 Peter 4:13), we are  not just enduring what He once suffered.  We’re sharing what we currently suffer. And He endures it with us. He is the great suffer-sharer and burden-bearer. This word share is κοινωνέω koinōnṓ; to communicate, participate in, be a partaker of. It’s derived from koinōnía meaning to fellowship or share with.

There is fellowship with Christ in the sharing of our sufferings.

The proximity, frequency and intensity of fellowship have certainly increased between my aunt and grandmother. Shared suffering and fellowship rise together.

Whatever you’re going through, rejoice!  If it’s sickness, He’s bearing it with you. If it’s poverty, He’s in it with you. If it’s heartbreak, He’s broken with you. But rejoice mostly in this: As the ultimate Caregiver burden-bears and suffer-shares, He does what all caregivers do; He extends His life to yours.

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