One day Apostle Paul that we admire so much made an audacious statement in the scriptures that kept me wondering, he said “follow me, as I follow Christ”. I was compelled to follow his path and then juxtapose it with the path of our Lord and master Jesus Christ to see if they bear some resemblance. Then to my amazement I saw things like: “five times I was given the 39 lashes of the Jews with a rod(not canes), three times I was whipped by the Romans and I was stoned once, I have experienced 3 shipwrecked on deep sea and once I was under the sea for 24 hours, in my many travels I have faced issues of floods and armed robbery, I have faced dangers from my own people and from the gentiles, dangers from high seas and dangers from fake friends, there are days I go without sleep, I have been hungry and also sometimes endure thirst(not fasting, it was like he didn’t have money to eat)”. At a point in time I thought I was hallucinating because this is Paul, the guy that wrote half of the New Testament which people are using to tell us that Christianity is the escape route from suffering.
My hunger to know the truth took me to read the Gospels, then I discovered something Jesus said in John chapter fifteen verses Eighteen “if the world hate me, then it will hate you too”, “if they have persecuted me then they will persecute you also” and he concluded that “and all these things they will do unto you because of my name sake”. That was Jesus talking not an unbeliever. Brethren, the suffering of the believer is a promised not a fallacy. Jesus said “All these attacks and sufferings they WILL do unto you because of my name sake” meaning we should not pray them away rather we should develop stamina to embrace them. Look at the things Paul endured for just being a Christian; even thieves don’t go through that. Please get this once and for all and save yourself from this heart attacks. I am not referring to part time Christians; where you wallow in iniquity as a lifestyle and deceive everybody you have a form of godliness. Genuine Christianity must embrace suffering.
The 3 Hebrew young boys were not thrown into the fire for stealing from the Palace, their crime was because they feared God. Daniel wasn’t thrown into the lions then for sleeping with the King’s daughter, his crime was because he feared God. The disciples were dragged on the flow tired to a horse, fried in oil, crucified and brutally martyred not because they committed any blunder or stole from the political coffers, their only crime was because they are Christians. Genuine Christianity is not to escape suffering. It is to endure the torture and the storms of life. Even Jesus himself was beaten many times, hated, vilified, spat upon, molested and finally killed, what makes us special to be exempted from these torture? Listen, you are not a Christian not to suffer.
We have preached heresies to the people that when you become a Christian your suffering ends, that’s not true. This is not to justify self-inflicted sufferings because there are people who have gone to sleep with peoples’ wives and as a result of that have been shot in the head with a bullet, they are dead but that death is not martyrdom, that’s a foolish death. Hear what Peter have to say in 1st Peter 5:10 “and after you have suffered a little while...” The God of all grace only comes after you have endured the suffering. Don’t curse God because you lost your job, no. It’s part of the package. Married 15 years no child, I am sorry but you have to endure. Started a church then the land was taken from you, don’t quit ministry, it’s part of the suffering. You got pregnant and had miscarriage, young lady! Don’t kill yourself the glory comes after the story. Elizabeth was barren for years not because she didn’t know the Gospel but when John the Baptist was birthed even Jesus testifies that the guy John is greater than every prophet including Elijah. Sarah married at a very tender age and was barren for years yet the husband Abraham is a friend of God, hmmm. But today we are all children of Abraham. Young lady, you are not a Christian not to suffer.
God’s servant Job never looked a woman twice but read his story and see, even idol worshippers don’t go through what Job went through but what was the testimony “ the Lord bless the latter part of Job more than his former”. The suffering hasn’t come to stay, but listen; even if it stays (which is not in the character of God) please don’t leave the faith because you are not a Christian not to suffer.
If you study church history you will come across men like John Hus who was burnt till he expired in the fire on July 6, 1415. What was his sin? He was a Christian, whiles he was been burnt to death he was singing this song; "Christ, Thou son of the God, have mercy upon us,” Polycarp the 2nd century Christian of the church of Smyrna was burnt till he died and when the body refused to burn they stabbed it till it got consumed. Euphemia, one interesting woman in the Orthodox Church was martyred and killed by lions just because she refused to offer sacrifices to an idol.
I conclude with Paul’s letter to the Romans “that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Please remember this anytime you feel like giving up on the Christian faith delivered unto us by the apostolic fathers:” YOU ARE NOT BUILT TO BREAK” so SURGE on.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus! Baptize me with the Grace to endure and to overcome ALL manner of persecutions and sufferings.