The Suffering of All Men
We all know there is great suffering in the world and we have each tasted of it to one degree or another in our own lives. Certainly by the time we reach mid-life most people have seen a goodly amount of suffering. The fact is that life is full of suffering, disappointments, and circumstances and situations that are contrary to our preferences. We ultimately come to realize that we cannot entirely control our health, our wealth or our relationships. But then again, its not about our preferences and our ability to control circumstances that are the issue of interest with the Lord.
God's eternal purpose certainly includes only what is best for us; its just that we in ourselves don't necessarily have a proper perception or eyes to see and determine what is best for us. We most often can't seem to look past or through our immediate circumstance... to the grander scheme. We see what appears to be a confusing patchwork in life, but God, through it all, is forging a new us that is founded in our union with Christ's life in us as our new, inwardly satisfying, life.
Our vision is poor. Would we have had the eyes to see through our situation if we were Jacob's son, Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers... only to later become a very high official in Egypt and later singlehandedly save his family from starvation, thus preserving the line through which the Savior would be born? I rather doubt it, at least not until the Lord has given us sufficient insight into His eternal purposes for us.
Twelve times Paul wrote "know ye not?," implying that we as believers should know so many things affecting our lives. Paul (below) says we could and would "understand" when we "read" (v4 below) what Paul has written to the Gentile "church, which is body of Christ" concerning His "knowledge of the mystery (secret plan) of Christ." This mystery includes knowing and enjoying "the fellowship ofthe mystery," that is our union with Christ by His resurrected eternal "Spirit of life" indwelling our human spirits (cf., Col 1:26-27) as being our new, eternal, overcoming, life.
"For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard ofthe dispensation of the grace of God which is given me (Paul) to you-ward: 3 How that by revelation he (the ascended Lord Jesus) made known unto me the mystery (secret plan); (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, WHEN YE READ, YE MAY UNDERSTAND MY KNOWLEDGE IN THE MYSTERY (secret plan) Of Christ 5 Which in other ages was NOT made known unto the sons of men, as it is Now Revealed unto his holy apostles and prophetsby the Spirit;
6 That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body (of Christ), andPartakers Of His Promise In Christ By The Gospel (of "Christ in you," Col 1:27): 7Whereof I (Paul) was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
8 Unto me (Paul), who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I SHOULD PREACH AMONG THE GENTILES The Unsearchable Riches Of Christ; 9 AndTO MAKE ALL MEN SEE WHAT IS THE FELLOWSHIP (Gk., koinonia, participatory partnership ) OF THE MYSTERY (God's secret plan), which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: (Ephesians 3:1-9)
Paul says it's possible for us to come to the "knowledge" (v4) of "the mystery," God's eternal plan for humanity, and how we fit into His plan. We gain this knowledge by first being saved and thenreading Paul's words (v4, above) that tell us we as believers have received the very "Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" into our human spirit. This in fact is our "fellowship of the mystery" (v6, 9, above), our union with Christ. It's then that we may come to a changed point of view. Quite often that change of view doesn't come except through our share of suffering as we endure the normal trials of life; these change our view and mindset. These sufferings may be referred to as the situations and circumstances of life. Our Lord uses all the negative of our lives to transform our mindset, our attitude of mind, and our very soul-self. We can learn to navigate this life on earth in rest and peace after we come to a proper understanding that's gained from the inner working and knowledge of Him who dwells in us, with His everlasting, unconditional, love.