It’s not an easy pill to swallow, but I find comfort knowing God told me to expect it.
It’s something Jesus, in His teaching, never hid from us (Matt 5:10-11), Peter told us not to be surprised by it (1 Peter 4:12) and Paul doesn’t leave it out in his letter to the Thessalonians either.
It is persecution. Christians will suffer persecution.
In fact, many have given their very lives to stand for truth. Fox’s Book of Martyrs details many of these deaths. It’s hard to read, and hard to think about.
But not all persecution leads to death.
Sometimes, persecution doesn’t kill you; but it can feel like a knife slowly turning in your gut and especially when it comes from those you call friends, family and fellow countrymen.
This can be so very hard.
Paul recognized this,and tells the believers, “For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost. (1 Thess 2:14-16)
Because those early Christians believed the Word of God, over the words of men, they were suffering persecution.
But their goal was to please God and this took precedence over their allegiance to friend, family, culture, political party, country, or any other affiliation.
And, today, those who choose to live their lives for Christ and follow Biblical truth, can also expect to suffer persecution.
But, though we may feel so very alone in it, the truth is, we never suffer alone because our brothers and sisters throughout the world are experiencing the same sufferings (1Peter 5:9).
But more than that, it is often in our sufferings and persecution that we will come to know Jesus better than we ever knew Him before (Phil 3:10) …the one Who never, ever leaves us or forsake us (Heb 13:5).
And that is the sweet blessing that comes from enduring persecution—to know, really know, that Jesus truly is enough to sustain us, when all else seems to fail us.
Like Job, those who have suffered with the Lord can say, “My ears have heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” (Job 42:5)
And that changes everything.
May every hard thing serve only to draw us closer to Him. ❤️