This morning I was reading "Life Together" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He talked about the fact that the Kingdom of God is built and lived right in the midst of His enemies. While we were still sinners, says Romans, Christ died for us. We were enemies of God, and Jesus came and lived among us, became like us, so that he became the perfect author of our faith.
Then I was reading Hebrews 2. Verse 10 says that Jesus, the author of our faith, was made perfect through suffering. He will bring us to glory, but it was through suffering that He is able to do it.
How do these tie together? I am not totally cemented in my thinking yet, but let me give it a shot.
We are going to suffer in this life. It is how we live with this, how we live above it, that will show those who do not yet belong to God who we are. Building His kingdom, building His community here, will mean suffering. But we are "sown among the nations" to show God's character. And eventually, He will gather us in again completely, even as He has already gathered us in spiritually. This is part of why community is so important. If we share our suffering with another, our suffering is halved. And our joy at making it through is doubled!
Now, I say all this at a time when I am experiencing little pain and no real suffering. I just hope I can remember it later. But isn't that all part of being on the spiral?