A woman once said, “I love my suffering because it comes from God.” Can you say this? Do you love your suffering because it comes from God? I know I don’t. Suffering is hard and it hurts. It is Isolating and discouraging, but it is also something that ties all humans together because we all suffer.
The Puritans wrote a lot about suffering because loss and hard times were a part of their normal life. John Bunyan, for example, lost his first wife, had a daughter who was blind, and found himself in prison for 10 years for preaching in public.
Charles Spurgeon’s mother had 17 children of whom 9 didn’t see their 1st birthdays. Can you imagine burying 9 of your precious babies? Suffering touches all people from all times and all cultures.
One thing that stood out to me in our verse today is the phrase “do not be surprised.” We often act surprised when we go through hard times but we shouldn’t. Our bodies, our minds, our hearts, our world all don’t work the way they are supposed to. There is so much brokenness that suffering should be expected.
Suffering Has Many Reasons
We will suffer because there is evil in the world. We will suffer because sin causes people to be inconsiderate and unkind. We will suffer because sin causes us to do and say things that are wrong, hurtful, and not glorifying to God. We will also suffer because of our faith.
We will suffer because doing what is right in a world that celebrates sin will be mocked and ridiculed. We will suffer because standing up for the name of God will be met with hatred. We will suffer because the Bible is our rule for living and the world will see it as old fashioned, barbaric, and intolerant. That is the kind of suffering that our verses are all about.
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
Standing up for what is right, proclaiming love for God, trying to live a holy life, standing on the truth that there is right and wrong … all of that will be met with insults, eye rolls, and much worse from the world. Some people will assume all kinds of untrue things about you. Some people will say all kinds of lies about you. Some people will do all kinds of evil against you because of your faith in Jesus, the Son of God, the King of Kings, the Redeemer of the broken and the persecuted.
At the beginning of His ministry Jesus had many followers. As soon as things got hard many of those followers decided that the hardships were not worth following Jesus for and they fell away (John 6:66). It was a sign that their hearts hadn’t really changed.
Standing firm under persecution is proof of a changed heart. It is proof that we have a strength that goes beyond our human capacity and a God given determination to stand up under all those insults, hurts, lies, losses, and pains because our Savior is worth it.
Take heart when you are persecuted for your faith. It means that your light is shining before others, that your testimony is being seen, and that God is being made known even if you suffer for it.
Someday, the persecuted will be vindicated by God Himself (Psalm 43:1), every tear will be wiped away, all hurts will be healed and joy will be everlasting.
Until that day comes, stand firm!
Looking to Jesus,
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Join us on January 6th as we begin our new Draw Near study...a study unlike any other that we’ve created!
Have you ever read the Bible and thought, “How do I make sense of this?”
Have you ever struggled to understand how to apply God’s Word to your life?
Have you ever felt like God’s Word is a confusing collection of stories and sayings, and you’re not sure how it all fits together?
You’re not alone.
Draw Near is a Bible study designed to help us answer these questions.
By drawing near to God, He promises to draw near to us. As we study God’s Word, we learn more about His character. As we learn more about His character, we understand more of His work and plan. God’s Word is the most reliable and trustworthy resource we have for understanding who He is: let’s use it!
By studying and understanding God’s Word, we deepen our relationships with Him. Learning to study God’s Word is a skill that will reap incredible benefits throughout our lives, but it takes commitment and discipline.
Draw Near: Learning to Study God’s Word to Deepen Your Walk with Him will guide you through Bible study methods, teaching you tools to grow in your understanding of God’s Word. As we learn the importance of memorization, observation, interpretation, application, and prayer, we will begin to see and understand God’s Word in new ways.
Let’s embark on this journey together, learning to study God’s Word in order to deepen our relationships with Him. Join us online for this six-week study or on our Love God Greatly app. You’ll find corresponding Draw Near content in both places with our Monday, Wednesday, and Friday blogs, further insights through our daily devotions, and a loving community to cheer for you as you learn to study God’s Word.