But that's exactly what the Apostle Paul said to Timothy (2 Tim. 1:8), "So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God."
So we've got a daughter who is battling cancer. And we suffer. We could ask why, but we have really been able to share the gospel with more people since Kristina's diagnosis last August than we have in quite a long time. We see many bald-headed kids and their families. Hopelessness distorts their countenance. Fear grips their hearts. And they have asked us about our joy.
This doesn't mean we don't hurt, but that our hurt doesn't overtake our hope and joy. And one thing we are realizing: because of God's grace--this suffering is not that bad. Before you write me off, allow me to clarify. When we place this suffering next the purpose of it, the worth shines brightly. Even Kristina has said that she is glad people are coming to know Jesus because of her cancer.
Suffering hurts. But it hurts less when there is hope and purpose. It's like a woman giving birth. It hurts, but the purpose makes it worthy of the pain and endurance. The gospel shared brings great glory to God. All throughout history, pain and suffering spread the gospel more than comfort did.
And so, with gratitude and enthusiasm, Paul invites Timothy to shamelessly and boldly join him in the suffering for the sake of the gospel. It's not that bad. The suffering only lasts for a while. Eternity is filled with bliss!
So I invite you, my fellow believers, join us in suffering for the sake of the gospel. Be not ashamed of our Lord, but be willing to suffer for the worthy sake of delivering His Good News to the nations!
Now THAT is living above the common!