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. 

Everyone Suffers

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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