A Bible Study
It’s what causes so many people to turn away from God, saying all kinds of things along the lines of:
“How could there be a God that allows so much war and famine and… pain?”
“Why would anybody with so much power and all-knowing qualities ever let us live in suffering?”
“Isn’t he supposed to love us?”
Trust me when I say this, I’ve heard them all and more.
I’m here to tell you that he does love you. And love, especially that grand and incomprehensible, comes with a price.
“For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.”
We should rejoice in our sufferings! For His sake.
Now, I’m not saying we won’t be scared or anxious, that’s the normal human response.
Even Jesus was so emotionally spent that he sweat blood – yes, actual drops of blood, you can read about it in Luke 22:39-44, these days it’s a rare condition called hematohidrosis and you can check here – as he was praying in the Mount of Olives, knowing full well he would be crucified soon.
Let’s rejoice as Peter and the apostles did after the council in which they were beat as it is said in Acts 5:41-42,
“And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.”
For a little backstory…
So basically the apostles had gotten a warning from the high priest not to keep preaching and “filling Jerusalem with their doctrine” but they did it anyways, of course, and got sent to the council for a punishment to be brought forth.
At the council, the high priest (once more) was like “did I not straitly command you that you should not teach in this name?” (meaning Jesus because they had serious issues against him) and Peter and the other guys just straight up told them “We ought to obey God rather than men” and then continued to defend Jesus nonetheless. This completely set EVERYBODY off so much that a Pharisee named Gamaliel had to cut in and call “forth a little space” in order to stop the council from killing the apostles right then and there. It was a pretty intense scene. The apostles were beaten afterwards and commanded once more not to keep speaking in the name of Jesus but as you just read in the passage above, that never phased them (by the way, all of this can be found in Acts 5).
The point is, they NEVER stopped preaching and teaching. It didn’t matter to them that they were going to be beaten or killed, they still suffered for His namesake and counted themselves worthy of suffering shame.
One thing that is very important to mention here is to make sure you are doing what God has called you to do. If he hasn’t called you to go abroad, then don’t force yourself to go do work in the trenches. If he hasn’t called you to go to that club or party (which by the way he most likely will never tell you to do that so…) and “be the light” for others, then DON’T go just because you think you want to go.
If he hasn’t told you to go somewhere just don’t do it.
That’s where the discussion of freewill and making the wrong choices come in.
You’ll be better off staying where you are waiting for the right door to open than having to turn back from the wrong path you’ve taken and start all over. Plus, what He has planned for you is way better than what you think you want for your life. Remember, he knows the future, you don’t.
Your suffering now will be used for His glory and a great testimony to somebody who might really need it later.
“But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues you shall be beaten: and you shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. And the gospel must first be published among all nations. But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what you shall speak, neither do we premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that you speak: for it is not you that speak,but the Holy Ghost.”
He told us to go? He told us to keep spreading his Word and the truth no matter what? Then GO (Mark 16:15)! Even if we’re going through something that is killing our body and twisting it all up He still wants us to go, so guess what I’m going to do. I’m gonna go.
“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all…. The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.”
There’s this non-profit organization called The Voice of the Martyrs and they focus on sending bibles and recruiting people to help in service and prayer for Christians in third-world countries and those that strictly ban Christianity.
They still exist; there are countries in which people kill Christians for even getting caught with a fraction of a page of a bible.
And for those who don’t have bibles, they get caught in holes and caves underground trying to see by the light of a single candle and packed in while they worship and thank God (in the midst of everything).
This is proof that we have it all, and we just don’t care to even think of thanking God or listening to Him or reading the bible or (gasp!) suffering for His sake.
“And you shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake:but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
– your friends all leaving you and bullying you just because you told them you were a Christian or you want to believe in something
– having to go to the hospital for treatment or meds for a sickness that can’t even be cured by doctors yet
– not being able to put your pain into words or emotion and forgoing any opportunities for help
– not having enough money for this month’s rent or next week’s groceries
– having to live one more year, one more lifetime in the clutches of an abusive family member or friend
– losing somebody you love in any way, whether physically or emotionally
– being too busy getting caught up on the things of the world that you fall once and it hurts so so much getting back up
– God disciplining us like the good father he is after we did something we just can’t stop feeling guilty about
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
1 Peter 1:6-7
Our integrity and strength will be justified through our pain. For the sake of our eternal joy, we will continue suffering.