I have been reading a lot and hearing a lot lately about suffering and crises. My daughter even asked about it the other day while doing her devotional with her. Suffering as a Christian. We can read in the new testament about how some of Jesus’s followers quit following Him because it was too difficult. Psalm 23:4 says that even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. James says that we should consider it joy when we face trials. Jesus says that we are blessed when we are persecuted.
None of these statements talk about if, but when. I’m convinced that the more we pursue Jesus and His righteousness the more Satan focuses in on us. The more we seek His Kingdom, Satan throws that many more distractions our way to throw us off track. Job was blameless and upright, yet God allowed Satan to strip him of everything including his health, Job suffered immensely. Peter denied Jesus and wept bitterly, even after Jesus told him he would deny Jesus, Peter should not have been surprised.
Yet in all these struggles and trials, it could be God refining us. Tony Evans says when God wants to move us to a deeper level of experiencing Him He will typically uses a crises. At those times we need to call on Him and realize we can’t do things on our own. Just living life and meeting the demands of life can be difficult, let alone trying to follow Him faithfully.
Job was restored and blessed even more than he was prior to his trials. Peter was restored greatly and preached an awesome sermon on Pentacost.
It can also get really lonely when being obedient. As I said above even followers in Jesus’s human presence walked away, even after seeing all the awesome things He did. Charles Spurgeon talks about how only three of the twelve were allowed to accompany Him at Gethsemane and see the sorrow Jesus endured and that was even at a distance.
Jesus says we need to deny ourselves, pick up our cross, which can be different things for different people, and follow Him or as the original text says, do what he does. He loved others in the face of crises, while being persecuted and when others didn’t love Him back. He suffered immensely before being arrested, He sweat drops of blood because of His anguish, yet God sent an angel to strengthen Him.
We need to stick with Jesus regardless how hard it gets. We need to not just call Him “Lord, Lord”, we need to do what He says. He is the foundation on which we need to stand when the floods come, because they will come, there are no it’s about it. We need to keep our eyes in Him when the winds and the waves try to overpower us and He will reach out His hand for us.
Lord, turn my sufferings into rejoicing.