Ephesians 3:13, “So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.”
Previous generations have not enjoyed the advances in medicines and other technologies that have eliminated much of the previous suffering generations endured. In the West, childbirth, for example, no longer carries with it a high probability of death for the mother. Infections that could have nearly killed those that would have contracted them centuries ago are now manageable, if not curable. Access to better research and studies about nutrition make for longer lifespans. Conveniences such as electricity, refrigeration, air conditioning, and automobiles make life physically easier and more comfortable than for those of previous generations.
These advances though wonderful do not eliminate suffering from our experience. As Christians, we must endure scorn. In many places of the world, to be a Christian means to die on account of our confession of faith. None of this should surprise Christians. The Lord Jesus suffered at the hands of men and promised that we would experience suffer for following Him (John 15:20). Jesus pledged that Christians would be blessed when they faithfully endure suffering on account of His name (Matthew 5:10-12).
Paul knew not only about suffering, but he experienced suffering personally. Ephesians 3:13 and verses like it are not uncommon in his epistles for this reason. The Ephesians were not to be discouraged by the apostle’s imprisonment for he suffered according to the eternal plan of God (Ephesians 3:11-12). Paul’s time in jail would not strike a blow to the purposes of the Lord but would advance them, causing Christians to rejoice in the Lord.
Paul’s suffering was for the Ephesians’ glory (Ephesians 3:13). Not only did it play a role in their salvation. It also brought the final day of glory closer. The Christian’s sufferings are the same today. Christians today endure pain for His sake, but His faithful suffers enjoy glory for all eternity (Romans 8:18-30).
Christians are not to be discouraged when they suffer, nor to deny their pain and hurt. Christians know that suffering for Jesus proves our faith which paves the path to ultimate glory. Every time Christians endure scorn or injury for being faithful to the Lord Jesus, may you and I recall that this is the calling of Christ. We should not think it strange to suffer for Christ. Instead, we should question our loyalty to the Lord Jesus if we have never tasted hardship for His name.