S208P2 – A new family: joined by experience

1 Pet. 5:8‭-‬9

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

We all know people who share a certain connection that seems only theirs, as if no one else could make their way in.  My mother had that kind of connection with her older brother.  Whenever I spent time with both of them together, mom turned into a different person.  She would be chattier than normal, excited in a way I did not see any other time.  They never stopped telling stories of their years growing up, but many of those stories were not pleasant.  I often wondered why the tales of poverty and abuse were discussed so much, but I realize the answer now.  That was the experience they shared, and it was unique to them.  It created a bond they could have only with one another and no one else. 

There are many Christians who have come before us who we will not meet or see in this life.  Many more will come after us.  Even now, we will know so few of our brothers and sisters who live during our lifetime, but we share a miraculous bond.  The Lord calls us to suffer as He suffered, and that is a universal requirement for all who choose to follow him.  Our pain might look different from one another, but we all suffer together.  The experience of Christ’s suffering is to be mirrored in us, united in not one experience but in a number of experiences for one purpose.  This shared trial serves to encourage us, fortify us, and unite us in the Spirit.  It is the thread of our spiritual fabric. 

Even though we do not share in the exact sufferings as our brothers and sisters in the same time and place, we all share in Christ’s sufferings in the process.  Our sacrifices in the name of Christ join us to him and to one another by extension.  We do not need to know each other to draw strength from one another.  It is enough to know that our sufferings are not unique to us but are part of a larger sacrifice.  We are not lonely individuals going through self-denial and persecution for the Lord on our own.  We are an army of brothers and sisters going through this together.  Father, help us to draw strength, courage, and endurance from knowing that we do not suffer alone.