The people of this world are acquainted with suffering, some more, some less, but suffering is the cup of life. Often suffering is a result of our decisions, but equally so are those souls who suffer the unexpected and undeserved.
All societies recognize the universality of suffering. Individuals suffer for many reasons, such as a cause which they are so passionately involved in that even torture cannot change their mind. Others, such as mothers, will suffer unbelievable pain for the sake of the children. The Fifty Six Signers of the Declaration of Independence suffered for their stand for liberty. The Native Americans have suffered beyond measure because they were here.
Often, people will think they are suffering for their particular religious belief, and in some cases, this is true. As often as not they are suffering due to a rotten attitude. History is full of the stories of genuine martyrs of the faith, and many, including me, salute these stalwarts of the gospel.
People who become “religious” hoping to avoid suffering are usually surprised at the suffering in the form of ostracism by others who do not accept their view. For centuries the mark of a serious Christian was their willingness to suffer for the sake of Jesus Christ.
The Apostles of Christ suffered martyrdom except for John who suffered imprisonment, plus was boiled in oil, surviving to die of old age. Suffering for Christ was on the table when they accepted the call of Jesus. He never promised an earthly Rose Garden.
Timothy who pastored the church at Ephesus, later pastored by Polycarp, wrote:
2Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. (NKJV). Paul notes the benefit of suffering:
Romans 8:17 “and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” (NKJV).
It WILL be worth it all when we see Christ!
Copyright © 2018 Larry Lilly
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