When I was a young Christian, I thought that God would bless us by giving us many good things since we had become His children.
Some preachers promise people that if they believe in Jesus Christ, they will not only be saved but also receive many blessings. They may say that these blessings are outward happiness, peace, and joy. Many people believed in Jesus Christ for this reason.
What human being does not want earthly blessings so that he can have happiness, peace, and joy?
Many Christians, however, can testify that when they believed in the Lord Jesus, they did not have any outward peace in their environment. The Christian life does not seem to be a life of outward blessings but of sufferings.
… In God’s design all of us who are His chosen people have to go through sufferings. There is no exception to this because He wants us to be a new creation.
He wants us to be transferred from the realm of the old creation into the realm of the new creation. This transfer is a process of suffering…
Then what shall we do? We have to be inwardly happy in our sufferings. The apostle Paul says that he rejoiced in his sufferings (Col. 1:24) because he realized that all sufferings are the process to make us new.…
The Lord Jesus told His disciples that if they were going to follow Him they must take up their cross (Matt. 16:24). If we are going to follow the Lord, we must take up our cross and follow Him.
Without taking up our cross, we cannot follow the Lord. Our young people may be looking forward to a promising, flourishing future, but Jesus never promised such a future.
He told Peter to take up his cross and follow Him. Later He told Peter, “Truly, truly, I say to you, When you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go. Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had said this, He said to him, Follow Me” (John 21:18-19).
What the Lord wanted here was to prepare Peter to follow Him to death. The sufferings we pass through are a process to transfer us from the realm of the old creation to the new creation.
…The suffering that we pass through to be renewed does not compare with the glory of our being new. Actually, the Christian life is not a suffering life. The Christian life is a life of being renewed day by day.
Witness Lee, Being Renewed Day by Day, pp. 9-11
To hear more on the purpose of our suffering: