We live in a world where Christian suffering is present in all shapes and forms. According to Open Doors (2022), ‘At least 360 million Christians around the world experience high levels of persecution and discrimination. That’s an astonishing 1 in 7 of the global Christian population.’
Suffering as a Christian must not be seen as something strange or unexpected. ‘For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him but also to suffer on His behalf,’ (Philippians 1:29, NASB2020). ‘Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.’ (2 Timothy 3: 12, NKJV).
This tells us that suffering is a part of our lives as Christians, and God allows it to happen. Therefore, how should we then endure suffering when it comes along? Enduring suffering as a Christian involves us relying on the promises of God. Let’s explore some of these which are listed below for you to easily click through:
- Know that God is with us
- He won’t let us suffer beyond our capabilities
- Lean on God, our Refuge
- Present all cares before God
- Meditate on God’s Word
- Wait on the Lord
- Hope in Jesus
- Keep on doing good
- Glorify God while suffering as a Christian
- Look forward to the future reward
Know that God is with us
In all suffering, we should remember that God is with us at all times. This will help us to persevere through all the persecutions that we may face. God tells us that, ‘When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.’
(Isaiah 43:2, NKJV) What a promise from our Father! If we hold onto this Word, we shall find peace in the midst of the storm.
Another promise we can meditate on is Psalms 23:4 (ESV), ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.’ Thanks be to our Lord Jesus Christ who will never leave us nor abandon us (Hebrews 13:5b, ESV).
He won’t let us suffer beyond our capabilities
‘No temptation has overtaken you except something common to mankind; and God is faithful, so He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.’ (1 Corinthians 10:13, NASB2020).
If there is someone who knows us very well is our Heavenly Father. He knows the full capacity of our strengths and our weaknesses. He will never put more on us than what we can handle. How wonderful is our God!
Therefore, no matter how many arrows the devil throws at us, God can never allow the temptations to be beyond what we can bear. Thus beloved, may you be strengthened in your trials knowing that the Lord is in full control.
Lean on God, our Refuge
The Lord our God should be our refuge in times of trouble. Let’s take it from Prophet Jeremiah who said, ‘O Lord, my strength and my fortress, My refuge in the day of affliction,’ (Jeremiah 16:19a, NKJV).
At the first point of distress, who do we run to? When the enemy comes like a whirlwind, to whom do we go to? Beloved, we should run to our Lord God Almighty who is our strong tower and should do so continuously.
Let us hide in Him, under His divine protection when we are persecuted. The Lord will cover us.
Present all cares before God
God calls us to present all of our cares before Him. ‘Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.’ (Psalm 55:22, NKJV). God will sustain us and we won’t be moved by our circumstances if we cast every burden on Him.
Dear sister, Christ is inviting us to come to Him to find rest; ‘Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ (Matthew 11:28, NKJV). Let us stop trying to figure it out on our own when we have a Saviour who is more than willing to take upon Him all of the troubles, the cares, the distresses we are harboring in our hearts. He is loving and compassionate and more than willing to help us.
Meditate on God’s Word
‘If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.’
Psalms 119:92 NIV
The devil is a liar and He twists the Word of God so that we fall during temptation. When Christ was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, He overcame the temptations by speaking out the truth of God’s Word.
If we don’t keep the Word of God in our hearts, if we don’t meditate on the scriptures daily, we are starving ourselves of spiritual growth. Satan will bring lies to us that if we don’t know what the Word says relating to the devil’s lies, we will fall for his lies.
Let’s not slack in our daily meditations. The Bible warns us to, ‘Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.’ (1 Peter 5:8-9, NKJV)
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Wait on the Lord
‘He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.’
(Isaiah 40:29-31, NKJV)
There was a time when I was going through a difficult situation in my life and I so needed strength to get through my discomfort. Daily I woke up, asking God to give me strength. I kept on pressing on in prayer and the Lord filled me up with so much strength every single day. When I look back, I am so thankful to God for His amazing strength! And so I relate to this verse that if we wait on God, He shall indeed renew our strength. God helped me to endure the suffering. Through it all, I came out strong, praising God for coming through for me.
May this be an encouragement to you that when you are facing tribulations in your life, or when your prayers seem not to get answered, wait on the Lord and He will come through for you at the right time.
Hope in Jesus
Beloved let’s place our hope in our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Christ will help us during temptations. He was tempted in every way by Satan but the evil one had no power over Christ. Christ prevailed in all the temptations. Hebrews 2:18 shows us that, ‘For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.’ (Hebrews 2:18, NKJV).
I love what our Lord said to Peter, ‘“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded to sift you men like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith will not fail; and you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32, NASB2020). Indeed we have a High Priest who intercedes for us! Our hope in Him won’t disappoint us.
Keep on doing good
‘So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.’ (1 Peter 4:19, NIV)
Enduring suffering as a Christian involves us doing good even while we are suffering. If it means loving those who have done really nasty things against us and caused us so much misery, we should do it. The Bible tells us to, ‘Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.’ (Romans 12:17, ESV).
When we get persecuted as Christians, we should be like Christ and follow what He did. Let us not act unholy in our actions, our speech or thoughts, but let us reflect love even to those who are persecuting us. ‘For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.’ (1 Peter 2:21-23, ESV).
If this is an area you might be struggling with, pray to God to change your heart and your attitude toward others. The Holy Spirit will lead you in doing good.
Glorify God while suffering as a Christian
‘However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.’ (1 Peter 4:16, NIV)
The name of our Lord Jesus Christ is so powerful. Even the word ‘powerful’ itself does not do it justice. His name is more than powerful. His name is above every other name.
‘Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth.’ (Philippians 2:9-10, NKJV).
We bear His name since we are called ‘Christians’. When we deeply grasp the power and authority that is in His name, we will never be embarrassed when we face adversities as Christians. We will be like the Apostles;
‘… and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.’ (Acts 5:40-42, NKJV)
Despite the severity of our trials and tribulations, let’s glorify God in all things and we will successfully endure suffering.
Look forward to the future reward
The greatest and ultimate benefit of enduring suffering as a Christian is that we shall receive the crown of life, just as James 1:12 (NKJV) says, ‘Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
James 1:12 NKJV
Isn’t it extremely great and satisfying to know that our suffering on the earth is truly not in vain? There is a reward promised to us! Abundant joy is coming friends if we remain faithful to God and love Him always.
I urge you my fellow sisters in Christ to remember that,’… the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.’ (Romans 8:18, NKJV). Do not lose hope no matter how bad the situation is. Keep on pressing on, looking forward to the eternal reward.
Through Christ we’ll be comforted
‘For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.’ (2 Corinthians 1:5, NASB2020)
May we look to Jesus who will give us all the consolation that we need when we are afflicted. Surrender all your burdens to Him and He will give you peace.
In closing, may you be reminded that when enduring suffering as a Christian you should:
- Know that God is with you;
- Realise that He won’t let you suffer beyond your capabilities;
- Lean on God, our refuge;
- Present your cares before God;
- Meditate on God’s Word;
- Wait on the Lord;
- Hope in Jesus;
- Keep on doing good
- Glorify God, and finally;
- Look forward to the future reward!
Until next time, keep pressing on!
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Remain joyous always!
1. How Long, O Lord? (2nd Edition): Reflections on Suffering and Evil by D.A Carson
2. God’s Grace in Your Suffering by David Powlison
Open Doors UK. (2022). World Watch List 2022: Trends [Online]. Available at: https://www.opendoorsuk.org/
persecution/persecution-trends/ (Accessed: 22 November 2022)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.