The apostle Paul suffered greatly for Christ’s sake (Acts 9:16), yet he called it “our light affliction.” (2Co 4:17) What perspective did Paul have that moved him to rejoice in his sufferings?
Paul knew that all temporal suffering is “but for a moment” when compared to eternity, unworthy to even be compared with the glories that will be revealed in us. (Rom 8:18) Christ suffers in and with us in all our tribulations for a glorious purpose, and Paul counted it a privilege to be the medium through which Christ chose to suffer (Col 1:24); there Paul found priceless fellowship with God. (Php 3:10)
God is constantly choosing to suffer fiercely. Though we cannot yet see all the glory He plans for Himself in this, we should count it a fantastic privilege whenever He invites us to join Him. Our only chance to love Christ sacrificially is now, in this life — in Heaven it will be too late. When we see His nail pierced hands and experience the infinite love of God in person, what will we not give for one more moment back down here among His enemies … to show Him what He means to us?