Suffering for Christ
I was amazed once again at reading Paul’s lengthy list of his troubles found in I Corinthians:
“Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. “Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.”
Wow! Out of all that, I can identify with only one item on the list—many a sleepless night! Maybe a little bit of the hunger and thirst thing. Right before the list he mentions “greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death.”
Paul talks a lot about suffering for Christ. In Romans 8:18, he says, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” In Philippians, he talks about “the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings.”
So…suffering is hard…but good. In today’s Bible reading I read, “…we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” - Romans 5
I’ve been trying not to be so wimpy when things get tough! I need some perseverance and some character and some hope! It just doesn’t come easily!
Even as I read my post to the left, I realize that the concept of suffering for Christ's sake is changing daily. When I hear what is happening around the world to the believers, I have to put my hand over my mouth.
Nevertheless, we in America do have our measure of suffering and it is something that makes our steps heavier as we walk through it. It amazes me that the disciples, after they were beaten, rejoiced because they had been found worthy to suffer for Christ! I guess we should call suffering by its rightful name, but not, as some would have it, live in a state of "woe is me!"
You have gone through things that just about beat you up, right? Will you share your story on the "Ministry Worker" page?