If suffering is the result of wholeheartedly setting aside our needs and desires for the good of the Kingdom and its King, then who we are as humanity and who we are becoming as the new humanity in Christ cannot occur apart from suffering.
It seems to me that “wholeheartedly” ought to be modified, nearly always, by the phrase, “as far as I know,” for there is more in our hearts that we do not know than what we know. Still, the point remains: it is the pain of truly setting aside our expectations and assumptions that helps make us humanity as we ought to be.
There are glimpses of this in ordinary human life: firefighters who enter burning buildings to save others, dads who stay in jobs they hate for the sake of family. We hear such stories and know that there is something deeply human in the sacrifice.
When I think of my life as an American Christian, I don’t think I can say that I’ve truly suffered. Even those actions that seem sacrificial and benevolent are tainted by mere duty or a desire to look good. Kingdom suffering is, I think, difficult for Western Christians to comprehend; we have much to learn from our siblings who experience intense, life-threatening persecution.
Where have you seen Kingdom suffering?