In Acts 14:23 we learn that "we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of heaven.” In our culture of comfort and the ever-present pursuit of happiness, those are difficult words for us to hear. But the truth is, no one shares in Christ's crown who doesn't first share in His sufferings.

The surprising thing shouldn’t be the fiery ordeal God puts us through… the surprise should be that we don’t go through greater problems or go through more ordeals. We have bought into the devil’s lie that God's purpose in redeeming us is to basically make our lives happy, all so healthy and always free of trouble. Any time we start believing that, believe me, we’re already in trouble because we’re believing a lie! The truth is the core of God's plan is to rescue us from sin… God has redeemed us to first make us more like Christ, and that will take plenty of refining, plenty of testing and trials and no one – certainly not me – is above that marvelous plan of God's.

God is so very good and each purpose He has is as good as His wise and wonderful character. His mercies they’re new every morning... every afternoon... and every night. Our Savior has gone before us, paving the way with grace upon grace for every hardship and may that fact alone enable us all to press on toward the high calling of knowing Him better, no matter how bitter the trial

Dear Lord God, I don’t like pain and suffering! If there is any other way for you to accomplish your will in my life, please remove my suffering. But just like Jesus, help me to mean it when I say “thy will be done.” Help me to fix my eyes upon Jesus - who suffered more than I can ever imagine -- physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. He endured the pain so that my sufferings can be temporary. He endured the cross so that I can look forward to a glorious eternity with you. Please give me grace in my trials, relief for my pain, peace in my turmoil, strength for today, and sweet rest in your loving arms. Please use my sufferings as a blessing in disguise -- a platform for Your glory to be displayed. I surrender to Your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10-11)

...our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (Rom. 8: 18)

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs -- heirs of God and co-heirs wit Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:16-18)

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)