Overcoming Suffering: When Persecuted
We have been exploring the subject of suffering. What does the Bible say about suffering? What causes suffering? How can we be overcomers in the midst of suffering? Let’s first look at another reason for why we suffer and that is persecution for professing faith in Jesus Christ. Plain and simple, we will suffer because we love Jesus. Jesus told us in John 15:20 that persecution would happen to those who follow him. If we saw him experience suffering, we should expect it can also happen to us. The pupil is not greater than the teacher. Jesus made some audacious claims. He claimed to be the only way to the Father (John 14:6). He healed hurting people on the Sabbath, something strictly forbidden by the religious leaders. He offended the religious and offered grace to the lost. He found himself in the crossfires of disdain and disgust from so many. Many people hate that God demands moral purity on their lives. They hate that Jesus wants complete control of everything they have. They resent any authority and do not want to think that God knows what is best for their lives. The increased persecution of Jesus’s followers all around the world is one of the many signs that suggests Jesus’ return is more imminent than ever before. In the history of the world, persecution for Christians has never been greater than it is right now. Tertullian, considered in church history as one of the great church fathers, said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” Any time suffering happens because of resistance to the pure gospel of Jesus, we should expect the church to flourish. This should cause our joy to increase, knowing that nothing is wasted. Remember, any persecution that we have here will be greatly rewarded in heaven (Matthew 5:12). As the beautiful song “The Wonderful Cross” reminds us, Jesus’s way bids us to come and die and find that we might truly live. Take heart, my friend. Weeping may remain for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).