Summary: Beloved, will a child of God face suffering? Does a believer have to go through a path of suffering? As a child of God yes we are blessed but there is also a suffering we will face as followers of Christ. What are these sufferings that we will face?
Beloved, will a child of God face suffering? Does a believer have to go through a path of suffering? You may have heard quite a number of preachers preaching that believers do not need to suffer or if you come to Jesus everything will be perfectly fine and you will extremely prosperous or since Jesus suffered you can now live in luxury. Like this you may have heard sermons. However the problem with these statements is that the Lord Jesus never said any of those statements nor does the Word of God back up such statements. Instead Jesus called His way in Matthew 7:13-14; the ‘narrow gate’ and said ‘difficult is the way which leads to life and there are few who find it.’ Further in John 16:33 Jesus says ‘in the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’ Also 1 Peter 4:16&19 ‘Yet if anyone suffers as Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.’ These are few of the many verses which state that as a child of God yes we are blessed but there is also a suffering we will face as followers of Christ. What are these sufferings that we will face?
1) The world will hate you (Luke 21:17, John 15:18-19) – Beloved it fact that when you follow Christ you will be hated by all. In fact you may lose your inheritance, your promotions, money that is due to you or something that is rightfully yours will be kept back from you just because you follow Christ. I have had many people tell me of such incidents in their lives. To be a friend of Christ means to be an enemy of the world. To be a friend of the world means you are an enemy of God (James 4:4). Jesus tells us if we truly follow Him; we will be hated by all.
2) You will face persecution (Matthew 5:10-12, John 15:20, 1 Peter 4:14)- From mild insults to be getting beaten or even put to death; every believer who decides to live holy life in Christ will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12). A lot of people do not want to give up their worldly social life even their social drinking because they say what will they others think, we need to socialize also, we cannot be seen as fanatics. They fear rejection and insults. Well beloved if you fear persecution then you cannot truly follow Christ. To follow Christ means to have a zeal and a passion just like the Levites in the Old Covenant who will do anything and everything for the Lord because they love Him with their whole being.
3) To train you the Lord will take you to a path of suffering (Hebrews 12:5-11, 1 Peter 2:20-21) – The Greek word used for disciplining means to train a person. That is why Hebrews 12:11 speaking of God’s disciplining/chastening finishes off by saying ‘afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.’ Have you wondered why most true servants of God has come through a path of great suffering? Well the Lord through those experienced puts into their heart His compassion and love. When you go through something only you will truly understand its pain. A person who has faced poverty or loss or sickness will know the burden of going through it. So when you know how it feels and you have come out victorious from it – you will pray with a heart filled with compassion and love for someone else who is now facing such a situation for a miracle to happen now.
Some preach that believers should not fall sick and if they do they have sinned. Certain times sickness may come because of sin but to generalize and say so violates God’s Word (John 11:4). I was reading the testimony of a great woman of God, Darlene Zschech who wrote the song Shout to the Lord and many other beautiful songs. She a few years ago was diagnosed with cancer. This was a shock to her and her family. Even as people prayed there was no immediate divine healing. She went through treatment and she writes that during that period she felt such closeness to the Lord and such a mighty intensity of His presence even as she studied His Word and spent time at His feet. It was something she had never before experienced. This dear lady came out of this totally healed and today with her husband pastors a fast growing church in Australia and is now travelling many countries preaching the gospel. God had a promotion for her and He took her through a period where her faithfulness was checked. She remained faithful in the little, so now God has given her the lot, the great things.