"That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death." ~ Phil. 3:10
Did you sing this song as a child? That I may know Him, wonderful Lord! That I may know Him, wonderful Lord! To know the power of His great resurrection, and join in fellowship with that of His suffering ....
For many years I've struggled out in my mind what those words mean practically. How am I supposed to know the power of His resurrection? What was that power? And how in the world am I supposed to fellowship with His sufferings? Walk up to them and shake hands? What does that mean? How -- how!!?? can I possibly conform myself to His death? I'm not even sure what those English words mean, strung together. They don't make sense.
And then the Christian life comes along, with all its trouble. Satan Never. Leaves. You. Alone. If you're in Christian ministry, Satan really never leaves you alone. 24/7, he's there, or his minions, oppressing you. Not tempting you, necessarily. But blind-siding you with totally unexpected trials and oppression.
This past week, I realized one more little chunk of how Phil. 3:10 makes sense. Here it is: When a Christian is unjustly oppressed, he is like Jesus. Jesus was also unjustly oppressed. So when Satan attacks us, shocks us with abuse or accusations or trials that we've done nothing to deserve -- Satan just helped us to be a bit more like Jesus. To fellowship with His sufferings. Wow. I'm sure mighty theologians have said it before and more eloquently, but for me, this week was a week of realization of this truth.
Why can we give thanks for sufferings? Because we suffer like Jesus did. We suffer undeservedly sometimes. And He fellowships with us there.