In the States, my picture of suffering was very different than it is now. To me, suffering was:
Those things are difficult and most certainly are a form of persecution.
Matthew 5:11-12 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
But I must admit, my views of suffering have transformed since coming here.
It now looks more like this:
And in recent months as have watched the news, my view of suffering has changed again. It looks more like:
But there is another face of suffering that we as Christians should never forget…
The news will never show it. It doesn’t fit their agenda. It doesn’t gain an audience. The “happy are ye” crowd.
I have seen the "happy are ye" crowd. They walk into church with a smile on their faces. They preach with bruises. They attend Bible college without family support. They pray for their persecutors. And they sing.
In the States, I wasn’t in the “happy are ye” crowd. I was the victim. I couldn’t believe that I could be suffering such persecution or rejection. I had my rights. And I should be treated fairly! But the more my view of suffering changes, the more my response to it changes, too. I am no victim. I am blessed.
I wonder how many of our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ are singing, though through tears at times. I wonder how many times the news media cameras edited out the Christian who praised Jesus with their last breath. I wonder how many people have knelt down to pray and tell Jesus He is worthy of it all. I wonder…
Sing on, my brothers and sisters. Your suffering is not in vain. And joy comes in the morning. Happy are ye…
Pray for our persecuted brethren.
Pray for our fellow missionaries who are reaching in to these areas.
And search your heart.
Are you really suffering?
If not, is it because you are not doing anything to exalt the name of Christ?
If you are not facing persecution, it may be a symptom of a much greater problem in your life…