Trusted with Suffering

You’ll think I’m insensitive and hard-hearted when you’ve finished reading this post.

Or you’ll think I’m much tougher than I actually am.

Today’s blog rant is in response to the whining and hand wringing I see scrolling through my social media pages or bannering conservative headlines. Christian after Christian boo-hooing with shock and indignation about unfair treatment because of their faith.

What? Unbelievers are just waiting for us to slip up so they can mock, call us hypocrites, or condemn the gospel as worthless?

What? The world is disapproving, stone-throwing, and oppressive the moment a Christian dares publicly step on the current third-rail of political correctness? By opposing gay marriage? Challenging transgender surgery? Daring to suggest that women shouldn’t abort the baby women residing in their wombs?

What? You say? The Bible and it’s description of these times is proving true? Well, boo-believer-hoo. Time to get over ourselves, people, and put on our grown-up souls.

Don’t think I’m someone eager for social martyrdom. I don’t like it either. I pray carefully over every word on this small blog – not only because I want to honor the Lord but also because I don’t want to throw myself under a bus unless God clearly calls me to do it. There’s nothing fun about having a world of people rejoice in your downfall. Nothing glamorous about being circled by people carrying large stones.

Still, we can’t possibly be shocked by what’s happening and we need to remember we are called to faith, not moaning and whining.

God has not only warned us about these days, He’s instructed us how to respond:

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” 1 Peter 4:12-19 ESV

I’m going to tell you something and I want you to listen carefully. Building the kingdom of God is not a board game. We are in a battle for souls with an enemy so clever, so beautiful, so deceptive that God sent His only Son to defeat him.

We have lesser enemies. We will come under fire. Some of us live on the front lines. We’ll get hurt. Deeply wounded. Suffer to the point of deep despair. But whatever happens to us is witnessed by God and within His power to limit. He will trust some of us with great suffering that we may share in the sufferings of Christ. We will be glad for what we’ve endured on the day Christ returns. We will be glad then.

But not now. Now, there will be scrutiny by oafs and ingrates just waiting for us to mess up so they can scoff. Now, there will be headlines, lawsuits, derision, and social isolation. Now, there will be characters in movies and television to make us look like fools. Now, there will be pain.

For some, there is much worse. Loss of jobs. Loss of freedom. Loss of physical comfort. Separation from family. Torture. Imprisonment. Death. All inflicted on those who claim to follow Jesus. ALL UNFAIR. ALL barely endurable if it weren’t for the faith and grace He provides.

In the moment of suffering, we may have few choices left. We can choose how to carry ourselves in suffering and how to respond. We can whine like the Israelites in the wilderness or we can walk into fiery furnaces with honor, remembering those who emerged without even the smell of smoke on their clothes.

One day, the suffering we endure right now will be a fond memory, so today is when we should practice responding with honor, faith, grace, truth, and love. Not whining like those who don’t know the truth. Not complaining like those who haven’t been told the full story. Not dragging our feet as if our Lord did not walk willingly to Calvary for us.

Alert one another to trouble, yes. Share stories to receive comfort, indeed. But remember that cowardice is a sin.

I am the scaredest of all scaredy cats, loved ones, but I believe what God says and He says love will cast out all fear. I trust this and will trust this in the days to come.

When I was forty, I’d never done a push-up. When I was forty-four, I did seventy in order to earn my black belt. I started by doing one. We must begin to endure suffering and persecution with faith, grace, and courage. And remember, there’s NO WHINING in Jesus!

So, go forth, loved ones, and whine no more. If God trusts you with suffering, how will you respond?

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    The Conversation

  1. Chestener says:

    Thank you. How timely is this! I recently made a comment on a ‘Christian’ site in response to the uproar this week. Just two simple sentences and was called a very foul word. Praise God ! The Holy Spirit immediately brought to mind..Matthew 5:11. And here you write this. Thank you!
    I remember some years ago Dr. Walter Martin saying decide now how you will ( or want) to respond not later…now, and it stayed with me.
    Thank you.

  2. Hallelujah and Amen Lori. We all need to hear this. There are Christians all over the world that wake up knowing they will endure persecution today. Thank you for shaking us up. We need it.

  3. Carla Allaire says:

    Hebrews 11 tells of the exploits of the greats of Bible history. Paul tells of all the terrible things done to them and he says ‘of whom the world is NOT worthy’. We WILL be persecuted while in satan’s domain. ‘If they hated Me, they will hate you’. Jesus told us FLAT OUT this wasn’t gonna be a walk in the park. He said count the cost. I think we are beginning to understand His words. I pray we all stand strong with the storms rage against us, knowing Who walks on the waters of those storms to us. May the Lord strengthen our resolve so we will NEVER be moved. God bless.

  4. Cyn Rogalski says:

    Just this week, in my reading, a verse in Mark jumped out at me…one I had read before but it didn’t register… Mark 10:29-30..”I tell you the Truth…no one who has left home…for Me and the gospel will fail to receive 100x as much in this present age…
    AND WITH THEM, PERSECUTIONS and in the age to come, eternal life.”
    So I agree…why are we surprised when troubles come? Even John 16:33 states, “In this world, you WILL have trouble.”
    If we believe the rest of His promises, why do we not believe this one?

    Another great post Lori, thanks!

  5. Patsy Arrouet says:

    I agree completely that we can expect persecution and suffering in a world increasingly hostile to the Christian Gospel. Our children must be prepared for this as well.
    I admired the way the Duggar girls handled their interview on Fox with Megan Kelley Friday night, showing their faith in God’s power to heal and restore, and the power of Jesus’ forgiveness working in their lives. They are being slandered, and that is difficult for anyone to take. The natural reaction is defensiveness, yet theirs was sorrow for what their parents and Josh’s family are being drug through, as well as the unjust exposure of their involvement. People viewing this saw two lovely persons unbending in their commitment to a merciful almighty God and to their wholesome, loving family. I praise God for their witness and humility, and for their willingness to set the record straight as to the type of abuse they unknowingly experienced.
    People need to see how their vicious attacks affect people who are blameless. I believe the witness of these girls was honest, humble, and not full of self pity. I pray God has use this interview to open the eyes and minds of many, non-Christian and the self-righteous among us.

    • I’ve only seen clips from their interview but I do admire how the Duggar daughters have handled this. Other Christians writing about the situation, however, need to develop less of a “slippery slope to self-pity” perspective and more of an “of course, people are eager to tear them down” outlook. Of course, the world is just waiting for us to slip up. Of course. And, of course, we will. That’s the point of the gospel. We all will and that’s why Jesus had to die. Thank you, Patsy, for sharing an example of Christians behaving well.

  6. Thankful that God is the Designer of these package deals AND that He equips us for them. 2 Timothy 1:7

  7. Janet Mancini says:

    THANK YOU LORI!! This needed to be said…. I needed to be reminded. This is a keeper to be re-read, re-posted, re-reminded, and re-readied for the battle with our “grown up souls on.” I was moved at these words of yours most especially…
    “I’m going to tell you something and I want you to listen carefully. Building the kingdom of God is not a board game. We are in a battle for souls with an enemy so clever, so beautiful, so deceptive that God sent His only Son to defeat him”.
    SIGH and AMEN SISTA! My pledge is in allegiance to that King!

  8. Verna Bowman says:

    Truth shouts within the lines of this great post – love this, Lori . . . Yes, suffering is about refining – not whining! Look forward to reading your book!