Yes, the Bible clearly states that many Christians will in fact suffer for their faith. Daniel, Jeremiah, Elijah and Jesus suffered. Daniel 11 :21-45 shows that at times God will allow His children to suffer. There were many early church fathers who suffered martyrdom for their faith; Polycarp and Justin Martyr to name a few. To emphasize again; we will suffer for our faith.
But what about when we suffer foolishly? We get blinded by the powers of sin that we often don’t realize a lot of our suffering rests in our hands. Jesus clearly states in the Beatitudes; Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Did you catch that? “Persecuted… BECAUSE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Sin is not righteousness. Your sin can cause you to live a life of constant suffering, yet your sin is usually the last thing considered. We think because we go to church, or pray here and there, or study our Bible here and there, we aren’t really living in sin. We search through every nook and cranny for answers to our suffering. We live off inspirations; “hold on, your day is coming.” So we wait idling in suffering – and in sin.
I can speak so boldly because I have had my share of idiotic behaviors as a Christian. I have plenty of stories I can share where I caused my suffering, yet blamed God. Case in point: When our family was losing our house a few years ago I prayed desperately for God to save it. It was one of the most emotionally draining battles we endured. It was embarrassing. It was frightening. We had no idea where we would move our family if we were to lose our home. Our house was constantly in a threat of foreclosure. People would stop in front all the time to take pictures or send letters seeking to buy it. This was our home. I had no desire to lose it! I foolishly thought what we were going through was simply part of the suffering you go through as Christians and one day God would miraculously save our house. I was wrong – we lost that house.
That was some years ago and I laugh at how witless we were. We were not suffering for the sake of righteousness. I can now see how our sin caused our suffering.
- We bought a house we couldn’t afford and expected God to pay for it. (How silly is that?)
- We never fully understood or read the type of loan we were getting into.
- We only bought the house because we were jealous of family members. (Covetous is a sin.)
- Once we were losing the house, we foolishly fell for scams to save our house.
- We never prayed for God’s guidance!
Galatians 6:7-8 says, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
Had we prayed from the beginning, God would have led us to a home we could afford. He would have led us to the right lender; one that wouldn’t have taken advantage of us. I am certain we wouldn’t have lost our home had God been at the center from the start.
Well, why did God not make the situation better? Wasn’t I praying? Can He not make something good come out of something bad? I’m certain He can. But at that time in our lives, we were too silly to see how we caused that problem ourselves. We never repented. We never acknowledged our wrong to God. We walked around like victims, and God allowed us to wallow in it. Only now do we see this from a different perspective. It’s not our job to tell God how to answer our prayers. It’s our job to pray, live a Holy and blameless life, and allow His glory to shine through us. It’s our job to live in obedience. It’s our job to seek guidance from the Holy Spirit. God will not allow us to suffer simply for the sake of suffering. There is a reason. It’s either for the sake of righteousness, or it’s our own-doing. Ask God to reveal the reason for your suffering. If you’re the cause, repent and turn away. Ask Him to help you live a Holy life. Ask Him to guide your steps. Whatever the outcome to your situation is – praise His name. Yes, we lost our home, but what we gained Spiritually, we wouldn’t have it any other way. He is faithful. He is awesome. He is a mighty God!
Psalm 145:1 “I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name forever and ever.”