There is a profound truth which I can only say I am beginning to understand. That is that those who are “in Christ” somehow suffer with Christ. The identification of our sufferings and those of our Lord’s is so close that Paul can affirm that Christ actually suffers (present tense) in our lives on earth (see Colossians 1:24-2:5). This suffering is good for us and part of his ongoing work to bring us into the fullness of salvation.
I am purposely keeping this posting short because I frankly do not have much to write concerning this teaching. There is so much I need to press into regarding fully accepting it and living it out yet. However, I found a wonderful statement on this teaching in one of the Vatican II documents. This is worth pondering and wrestling through for ourselves.
Specifically, from The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church,
For this reason we, who have been made like to him, who have died with him and risen with him, are taken up into the mysteries of his life, until we reign together with him (cf. Phil. 3:21; 2 Tim. 2:11; Eph. 2:6; Col. 2:12, etc.). On earth, still as pilgrims in a strange land, following in trial and in oppression the paths he trod, we are associated with his sufferings as the body with its head, suffering with him, that with him we may be glorified (cf. Rom. 8:17).” (see Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, General Ed. Austin Flannery O.P. [The Liturgical Press: Revised Edition 1992], p.356)