I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. (Col. 1:24)
I’ve often wondered about this verse. Christ did everything necessary for salvation, so what could Paul mean?
Then I think of all the suffering of God’s children. We accept Christ, but that doesn’t make life perfect or painless. His children still have to deal with the affects of abuse. Or they live in families where the people who are supposed to love them don’t. Some lose children that they would have dearly loved to have loved into adulthood and beyond. They are cheated, lied to and taken advantage of. His children still deal with illness and physical handicaps—things that won’t be fixed until they go to Him or He returns for us.
We are His children and He is preparing a place for us. But for now we still live here—in a world under a curse. He asks us to remain and work with Him. He asks us to shine a light in this dark place. And He asks us to suffer. He asks it because He has more children, children who have yet to believe.
He doesn’t ask it lightly. He knows exactly what He asks of us. He lived here. He knows pain. He knows sorrow. He has felt them. I believe He feels every hurt with us. He cries with us. And He will end the pain just as soon as the last child is in His arms. When that person believes, He’ll come running. The pain won’t last even one second more than it has to. He’ll run.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. (Revelation 21:4)
Until then we fill up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.