My favorite Bible teacher at my church, Cyndi Anderson, sent the following devotional to encourage the ladies that have been in her classes:
“Your suffering occurs alongside of Christ’s. Your life story is embedded in His story. Your suffering, therefore, is actually a participation in the sufferings of Christ (2 Corinthians 1: 5; Philippians 3: 10; 1 Peter 4: 12– 13). Consider Paul’s amazing statement: ‘Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and 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’ (Colossians 1: 24). Paul is not saying that your sufferings add anything to Christ’s work on the cross. There’s nothing deficient about Jesus’ suffering and death. He is saying that there is a purposeful link between the sufferings of Christ and your own suffering. Your connection with Jesus means that your identity is bigger than what you suffer. Paul says: “If we are children, then we are heirs— heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8: 17). Paul is saying that your suffering actually confirms your identity as a child of God. It does not undermine that identity, even though it sometimes feels that way. This perspective reminds you that as you suffer, you suffer in Christ. Your life (both suffering and, ultimately, glory) is intimately connected with his life.” (Michael Emlet)
Heart of the Matter: Daily Reflections for Changing Hearts and Lives (Kindle Locations 407-409). New Growth Press. Kindle Edition.