Anyone who wants to live all out for Christ is in for a lot of trouble; there’s no getting around it.
2 Timothy 3:12 (MSG)
I run into Christians who are astounded when they encounter struggles, loss and pain in life. It always grieves (and frustrates) me when folks turn away from the Lord at the first “bump in the road”. Where do we get the idea that when we put our faith in Jesus all obstacles and opposition run and hide?
When a Roman accused a second century Christian of serving an impotent God because of all the hardships Christians suffered, Octavius, the believer, gave this response:
“You think we are punished when we suffer hardship but it is not punishment – it is warfare. Virtue and suffering usually go hand in hand. Think of all the mighty men you hold up as examples. Wasn’t it their afflictions that made them great? God is able to deliver us however, He tests us through adversity and just as gold is refined by fire, so we are purified and proven through times of crisis. No one receives a prize before the competition and we are running for an eternal crown.”
George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and many other legendary heroes are only known to us because of the hard times they led through. They do not build statues to people who had easy lives but to those who fought, struggled, endured and brought about a better world through their hardship.
1 Peter 4:12-14 (NIV)
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.