A few days ago, I posted something which had mostly to SUFFERING as Christians;https://mckybarf60.wordpress.com/2013/08/11/christian-suffering/, as followers of Christ. In it I tried to establish what suffering is, its purposes in the believers life and our response or approach to it when we encounter it. We saw something in 1Thes 3:3, which said something about “……persecutions being a part of GOD’s will for us”. Why? Because it is only through that is the believer perfected and made “equipped’ for every good work. Through it we become mature and experienced in our walk with the LORD, and in our dealings with the flesh, the world and Satan. It is like a child learning to walk: he falls, trips, somersaults, etc, but little by little, he gains experience and then is even able to run about the house. If the parents have fear of the child getting hurt and decide to carry the child all the time, then it might take a long time before he learns to walk or even do anything for himself and sooner or later becomes a burden to all around since he will need help with just anything. God doesn’t intend for us to be so. He intends for us to grow, mature and become experienced in the faith and in our walk with Him,; to be able to stand up and not give up and run dry in times of adversity. And to achieve that, He permits suffering to come our way.
However, I want to emphasize the fact, though He permits them to come our way, He isn’t the author of it; SUFFERING. James 1:13 says ” Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempteth no man: I believe that text explains itself. No one can tempt GOD with evil and HE himself tempts no one.
Beloved of Christ, we live in a dark world ruled by the dark forces of evil. In the day that Adam and Eve, his wife sinned, they relinquished their authority and power to Satan, and since that day, he has exerted his evil and dark influences on what should have been man’s. The famine, drought, hunger, earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, sea storms, diseases, wars, etc, all are master-minded and orchestrated by Satan, the false prince of this world. One may ask, why he does all these things; well just to instill fear in us and not only that but also to cause us to lose faith, confidence and trust in GOD; maybe incur his displeasure by cursing Him(GOD), then later end up just like him(satan) awaitng hell fire and that dark bottomless abyss. He did same with Job. Read the book of Job chapters 1&2 to get the full picture. The good news, however, is that Job never for once fell for any of his tricks. Job stood his ground and today has become a great example unto us. Later, after he had endured, persevered, and overcome that fiery trial, he got double for his trouble. His end, was greater than his beginning because he had passed the test. God passed a vote of confidence in Job and he didn’t disappoint. That is GOD’s desire for us, you are me who are followers of Christ.
Persecution, trials, tribulations, pain, sickness, etc all have their purpose we have established already. Make no mistake! GOD could have done something about it and prevented Job from all that trouble but He didn’t, all because it is needful unto us. Like that young boy, God expects us to grow through the things we suffer daily. Paul tells Timothy, ‘ Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus’. 2Tim 2:3(NIV). A Christian automatically is a soldier and being a soldier in real life comes no easy at all. Anyone who knows something little about military life knows for certain that civilian life has nothing to compare with it. The disciplines and routines one has to go through and endure to fully qualify as a full fledged soldier is no easy task at all. So Paul admonishes Timothy to endure ‘hardness’ as the King James Version puts it, as a good soldier. Other words that can replace ‘hardness’ include opposition, hostility, adversity, tribulation, afflictions etc. It is only through this that we become partakers of His glory and earn for ourselves crowns of salvation. Our perfection only comes when we endure these. If we expect to have a share in in the fruits of righteousness then we must also labour in its field.
What am I trying to arrive at with all this; though GOD does not author our suffering, He expects us to endure them and persevere under them. It is needful for us to suffer. We must not try to avoid them on our path because there are no shortcuts to success. James 1 says; 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds,3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Note the highlighted portion of the text. James refers to our SUFFERING as the testing of our Faith, and as we endure them, we grow in perseverance which having finished its work makes us Mature and Complete, not LACKING in anything. It is that simple. The forerunners of our faith all went through this same process so why should we be exempted. Besides, it is for our own good, a point i have not failed to impress on. Fortunately for us, we don’t have to suffer for our faith like they had to, as some were fed to starved lions, sawn asunder, burned at stakes, scourged, etc. We make up fpr that with our struggles with life, but it is all to our benefit. If we endure and persevere in suffering it means we love the Lord; And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;…Romans 8:28-29. Let us gird ourselves up for the battle is great and promises better things to those who are unrelenting and overcome in the end.
Never give up, never give in, hold on tight and stand firm for you shall reap its rewards in due time.