Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The Surprising Side of Suffering

 By: Rebekah Hargraves

Photo Courtesy Of: Milada Vigerova

 We ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, since your faith is flourishing and the love each one of you has for one another is increasing. Therefore, we ourselves boast about you among God’s churches—about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and afflictions that you are enduring. It is clear evidence of God’s righteousjudgment that you will be counted worthy of God’s kingdom, for which you also are suffering, since it is just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you and to give relief to you who are afflicted, along with us. This will take place at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels, when he takes vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus."

~2 Thessalonians 1:3-8

Never one to shy away from an uncomfortable topic, Paul begins his second letter to the Thessalonians by writing about the persecutions and tribulations we will endure in this life. His choice is not terribly shocking; in fact, trials and tribulations are common topics throughout the New Testament, and believers are repeatedly instructed to delight in these hardships for the godliness they produce in us.

What might be a bit shocking, though, is the specific words Paul uses in 2 Thessalonians 1 regarding these sufferings. He says that our hardships are “clear evidence of God’s righteous judgement that you will be counted worthy of God’s kingdom, for which you are also suffering.” 

Did you catch that? Our trials, tribulations, persecutions, and sufferings in this life are direct evidence of the righteous judgment of God!

They are actually direct evidence that He is considering us worthy of the kingdom of God!

That’s a big deal!

So, dear sisters in Christ, please do not lose heart!

Please do not fret or wring your hands or get worried and worked up, not even after the two years we have all endured.

No. Instead, rely on your faith.

Remember what these trials are proving about your faith.

Live it out.

Test it.

Prove that it can withstand hardship. And excitedly watch God work!

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