Different people suffer for different reasons. Some sufferings are the consequences of peoples wrongdoings. There are some who suffer not because of their own wrongdoings but due to the mistakes or sins of others. Some persons may also suffer not because of their own faults nor the sins of others but God allows them to go through suffering so that they would learn some lessons, to try their faith or that the name of God shall be glorified in their lives (Joh 9:1-3). There is yet another group of persons who suffer because of their good deeds or faith. It is this kind of suffering that is discussed in this Newsletter.
Suffering for Doing Good
“For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who
his own self, bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1Pt 2:19-24).
Peter´s admonishment to the church is that it is natural for them to suffer or be punished for their wrongdoings but when they are reviled or punished for their faith in Christ, then they should embrace it patiently knowing that their Savior Jesus Christ, being their perfect example, also suffered in a similar manner. Pilate, after having cross-examined or interrogated Jesus Christ, did not find any fault in Him (Luk 23:4), but he was subjected to humiliations and beating and His eventual crucifixion (Acts 8:33, 1Pt 2:21).
Suffering for One´s Passion
Many a time, people start pursuing their mandate but they soon freeze and quit half-way through when confronted with sufferings that are associated with their divine assignments. Such attitude is uncharacteristic of Christ Jesus in whose footsteps we thread. John testifies that Jesus Christ, in the pursuance of His passion, confessed, “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again” (Joh 12:27-28).
Believers should be able to stand firm in what they believe in and must be willing and ready to die for it. Jesus could have abandoned his mission while on earth just like any other person, but he accepted to endure the pain and the suffering for the excellency of the prize that was awaiting Him in heaven (Heb 12:1-4). What is your mission or your purpose for being on earth? It might be standing against corruption and the evil powers that govern our nations, it could be defending the vulnerable people in our societies, or preaching the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever your passion is, you might experience rejection, mockery, name-calling, hunger, imprisonment, among others, but do not quit or abandon that passion, even if you need to die for it.
Dying for one´s passion is something that Paul has resolved to do when He intimates that “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or
by death (Php 1:20) because he knows that if we suffer with Christ, we shall also reign with Him (1Ti 2:12). It ought to be said that anyone who quits is not crowned, but only those who successfully endure to the end are rewarded.
Christians need to identify their God-given passion or mandate and work towards its realization. They might encounter one kind of challenge or another as they work at it, but they must stand for it even if they have to lose their lives. For Paul and the Apostles, it was the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ but for you, it might be activism or journalism, acting, politics, military, judiciary, or some other discipline but God is the giver of all of them.
Prayer: May the Lord God enlighten you to discover and rediscover your divine assignment on earth, and give you the stamina and the tenacity to fulfill it. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.