AskRob: Question on Suffering and the Will of God

Rob, you listed as one of God's will for us is to suffer. By suffering . . .
does this mean suffering persecution for the sake of Christ? Or does
the day to day suffering as the result of living in a sin-filled world
"count" as suffering? Like (a couple with a handicapped child). Or
is it what our attitude is toward all suffering? I know this may seem
trivial but no one really defined it for me. Christ talks about
suffering for His sake, but Paul seem to imply not just the
persecution he experienced but the day to day reality of life, like
his "thorn in the flesh" (whatever that was). This thorn doesn't
appear to be result of persecution but just from living in this cursed
world.

Hope I made myself clear. Its sometimes hard to put down on paper..

Yes, well this is just a tip, but here you go:
There are some more ambiguous passages in James 1 and 1 Peter 1. These are mentioned as just trials, but they likely go both ways, even though the likelihood of a stronger focus on the sufferings of Christ are there.
 
 
 
So, the text will focus more on the suffering for Christ, but don't discount suffering in general. Just looking at the very nature of life, that God's plan is still involving suffering - so much so that the creation even groans. We still suffer and die. The fact that He is sovereign and that people suffer bring  us to the conclusion that he is willing suffering. The point is to take the instruction in James 1 and count it joy.
 
 
 
This is not to say that God is desiring some sort of asceticism for us- meaning, we are not to banish all good from our life to make us holy. Rather, we respond to any and all situations as being from the Lord. Like Paul, we are to be content in whatever circumstances we are in. We can ask God to relieve the suffering from us, as Paul did with his thorn in the flesh, but God might say no. This is usually what is the most difficult for us - it seems meaningless. To suffer for Christ has purpose, but to just suffer seems pointless. God wants us to rejoice in Him no matter what. God is working the suffering for our good, especially as we suffer for Christ.
 
 
 
Does this make sense? I hope this helps some.