Summary: Suffering is walking in the light of Christ.
Title: A Good Suffering
Bible Reference: Holy Bible KJV
A Good suffering.
What do we mean by that? a good suffering.
Should we rejoice in the suffering of another? Should we seek to cause or assist in the administering of suffering?
What it means is that we, as Christians, must suffer. We must endure the ridicule, the hatred and the disdain of our enemies. When talking with others about the joys of being a Christian and hearing the Word of God, we get so caught up in the thought that we might bring someone into Christ, that we often forget that it also a burden to be carried. It is a burden of love that not all have the strength to endure. Especially when they are just beginning to believe. Though the Apostle Paul writes:
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
- Phil 4:13
Some people might think:
Oh, well Paul, he was an Apostle man. Of course he’d say something like that. He knew God, followed him and all that. But what about me? I can’t see myself suffering for someone I don’t know.
Let me tell you something people, Paul was Saul and Saul was anything but a man of God. Before coming to know the Lord, he preached against Christianity. He despised Jesus and denied him as the Messiah. Acts chapter 9 verses 1- 6 has this to say:
1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disicples of the Lord, went unto the high priest.
2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
Look at that. He wasn’t like a lot of people saying that believing Jesus is crazy, he wanted to bind them in chains and bring them into the city of Jerusalem to be imprisoned. Let’s remember that a lot of people preaching the Word of God were imprisoned but later executed.
3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice sayinging unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5 And he said, Who art though, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
When Paul got up from the ground and opened his eyes he saw nothing. God had blinded him so that the soldiers travelling with him had to lead the way into the city. This was the beginning of his suffering. For three days he was blind. He neither ate nor drank anything. In verses 10 and 11 of that same chapter the Lord reveals himself to a disciple through a vision. His name was Ananias.
11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for behold he prayeth,
12 and hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints of Jerusalem:
14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name:
15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
16 For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
Though Paul did not know this, God had a plan for him. His plan was suffering so that the blindness of others might be removed and that they might see the will of Jesus Christ.
We do not suffer. To us we might suffer. Got bills we can’t pay or a job that we don’t like. People, this is not suffering. If it were suffering, then we would want to give it all up to the Lord and say, "God, I committ to you these bills and these burdens, so that I might be free to live for you and you alone." But we don’t do this. Because we fail to do this one simple thing, it grows into something that begins to infect our families with worry and weakness. This is suffering. Not the bills. But the fact that they can become so important that the shake the foundation of our love in Christ in that we wonder why we suffer.