Paul yearned to share the pain and distress that Christ experienced. Did he not have enough suffering in his own life? Did he not have the hurts and cares of all the churches heavy upon his heart? Yet still he prays - "Oh, that I might know how to share Christ's pain and hurt."
Soon after Paul's conversion, Ananias delivered a word from the Lord to him "concerning the great things he must suffer for the sake of Christ's name" (Acts 9:16). It was to be more than the personal distress of shame, rejection, persecution, and hardships. He would suffer through shipwreck, stoning's, beatings, and afflictions of body and soul. He would joyfully suffer the loss of all things. In triumph over all these personal sufferings he would proclaim, "I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18).
Paul suffered as few other men have suffered. Yet still he considered it all nothing in comparison to the sufferings of Jesus Christ, his Lord. Peter, too, spoke of being both a witness to and a partaker of Christ's suffering:
"I... who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ..." (I Peter 5:1).
"Rejoice... inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings..." (I Peter 4:13).