One theme commonly missed through the Easter season as we remember the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is that of suffering prior to victory.

We all love the sweet thrill of victory.  We all love the comeback stories where the underdog makes an impossible comeback.
No comeback story is greater than the story of Jesus Christ.  He is God over all of creation, but humbles Himself to be one of the poorest and most humble humans to serve all of mankind and suffers and dies a horrific death.  Then, He rises again to life and is exalted again and given the name above every name in all of creation!  His desire is that His Heavenly Father would be glorified.
John 17:1-5
1 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

The glory that Jesus received was gained through suffering.  This is an obvious pattern from cover to cover of the scriptures, but one that we often fail to see and understand, or perhaps one that we’d rather ignore and pretend that it does not exist.
Think of Joseph.  He was hated, abandoned, left for dead, sold into slavery, wrongfully imprisoned, forgotten all before being placed in the position of being put in charge over all of the great land of Egypt. (Genesis 37-41)
Think of David.  He suffered greatly and was on the run for his very own life away from King Saul for decades all before he was exalted as King over Israel.  (Books of 1 & 2 Samuel)
Think of Israel.  This nation spent 400 years in slavery to the Egyptians being painfully mistreated and abused (Genesis 15) all before they were delivered and overthrew 31 kingdoms to enter into their promised land (Joshua 12).
Think of Esther.  Her mother and father were killed as a result of the exile of Israel by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar and was raised by her cousin.  She lived under the rule of King Xerxes and was forced away from her family to become the queen.  All of her suffering took place in order that the lives of the Jewish people living in the 127 provinces under King Xerxes would be saved. (Book of Esther)
Think of Daniel.  He also suffered as a result of the exile of Israel by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar.  He was forced to serve the king, thrown into a blazing fiery furnace to be killed, then proclaimed the third highest ruler in the Babylonian kingdom, then thrown into a den of lions to be killed, then restored back to his position. (Book of Daniel)
Think of Job.  He was the greatest man in the Eastern world, then lost all of his family, servants, health, and belongings.  The only thing that Satan left Job with was his miserable and painful life.  All of this before God restored twice what had been stolen from him. (Book of Job)
Think of John the Baptist.  He went around in the wilderness by the Jordan river preaching in camel skins and eating locusts and honey.  He was imprisoned, then beheaded by King Herod at the request of an exotic dancer.  Yet Jesus said that no one who has ever been born is greater than John the Baptist.  (Matthew 11:11, Matthew 14)
Think of Stephen.  He was full of wisdom and performed many signs and miracles as He preached about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  He saw into heaven and saw Jesus seated at the right hand of God.  As he was being stoned to death, he prayed that God would forgive their sins.  All of this before he entered into the Kingdom of God, Himself.
Think of Paul.  He once was commissioned and determined to destroy the church.  Then, when he gave his life to Jesus, he was blinded.  Jesus told Ananias this regarding Paul:
Acts 9:15-16
15  “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
Paul then writes about some of his sufferings:
2 Corinthians 11:23-30
23 Are they servants of Christ? I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? 30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
Yet, he also wrote:
Romans 8:18
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Despite Paul’s many sufferings, he wrote 13 books of the New Testament.  7 of these letters were written by him while he was imprisoned.  He planted approximately 20 churches in his lifetime and spread the fires of revival throughout many cities and areas during his missionary journeys that set the course of the church that had such an incredible impact still even to us today!
If you find yourself suffering in life, take away this wisdom from the countless men and women who have suffered while faithfully serving God.  Trust your Heavenly Father completely and entirely.  He may permit your suffering for a season, but your victory will certainly come!
When dedicating the temple for God, David wrote the song of worship that we find in Psalm 30.  Within it, he declares this truth that we can cling to:
Psalm 30:5b
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
Cling to God, trusting Him wholly and completely.  Yes, you may endure a long season of night, sorrow, and weeping, however, your light will pierce through this darkness as the morning of your rejoicing comes!  As we remain faithful to God, in the end, our victory is certain and we will enter into a season of eternal rejoicing forevermore!  That gives us a reason to worship, even in the midst of our darkest season of suffering!