2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Modern teachings in Christianity has tried to teach that Christians are immune from suffering. I am baffled and perplexed by this sort of teaching, as it totally contradicts scriptures and the teaching of Jesus Christ.
The Bible is actually full of scriptures and events which shows suffering and persecution will be part and parcel of the Christian believer’s life here on earth
Jesus in John 16:33 said this to his disciples.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Jesus was saying that as long as we are in this world, we are not immune to affliction, agony, anguish, distress, excruciation, hurt, misery, pain, rack, strait(s), torment, torture, travail, woe etc. However, He also went on to say that He has overcome the world, and as a result, we have become overcomers. I will say it again, because Jesus has overcome the world, we have automatically become overcomers.
God in His infinite wisdom allows us to go through suffering s even as His children, but never for our destruction.
2 Corinthians 4:8–9
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed”
We can be rest assured that the suffering God allows is never to do us harm for we are promised in Romans 8: 28:
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Suffering has many faces. The Bible doesn’t ignore or fail to inform us of the different experiences of suffering. The Bible recognizes the multifaceted ways that suffering can come upon us and teaches us about these. Let’s look at some of them:
- The suffering that produces patience and endurance in us – James 1:2-4 and Romans 5: 3
- The suffering that purifies and produces genuine faith – 1 Peter 1:7-10
- The suffering that prepares us to share in Jesus’ glory – Romans 8:17-18
- The suffering that prepares us for more glory – 2 Corinthians 4: 17 - 18
- The suffering that attracts God’s comfort so we can minister to others – 2 Corinthians 1: 4
- The suffering that comes in the form of discipline as part of God’s love for us - Hebrews 12:1-11
- The suffering that comes due to persecution for living godly – 2 Timothy 3: 12
- The suffering that comes because we are followers of Jesus Christ – John 15: 18 – 20, 1 Peter 4: 12 - 14
- The suffering that can be as a consequence of sin – Galatians 6:7-8
- The suffering that comes from the devil – Job 1: 1 – 22 and 1 Peter 5: 8 - 9
- The suffering can also be as a consequence of our choices – Proverbs 14:12
God does not want us to be ignorant of sufferings or to be afraid of them. He wants us to be confident that even in our sufferings He is with us and there is a greater purpose to them than we can comprehend – Him being glorified.
His desire is that we have Him and eternity in mind during times of suffering. The biggest challenge is that most of us live for self and for now, but when we think of Him and of eternity, we will handle suffering with a different attitude. It will also cause us to respond differently. We will walk in deep faith in those times, knowing who we have believed in and knowing that He is able to keep us till the end.
Hebrews 11:13-16 tells us about the men and women of faith who died in faith. They all had their share of sufferings but they trusted God till the end.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off [e]were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
People of God, let us trust the Lord like these heroes of faith in the Bible till the end, no matter what comes our way.
Finally, the great news is that God has provided more than enough grace to carry us through during the times of suffering, and bring us to a place of overcoming, without us going under. His grace is absolutely sufficient, will you tap into it today and count it all joy ……….
Grace to you.