We might say that these days are very unusual. The COVID-19 pandemic has put the spotlight on suffering in ways that many have never experienced before. There are so many different types of suffering; the virus, loss of a loved one and not being able to be present during their final moments. Some have lost their job and the income that comes from work. Many places around the world are experiencing poverty and hunger that most of us know nothing of.
Then there are Christians who are suffering through the sudden rise in persecution. Some places were experiencing a freedom to share the gospel when the pandemic started, but now that is all reversed and many are losing every freedom they had, and many are being killed.
As testimonies from these places come to us, it is humbling to see how many embrace their suffering as a way to further witness of the Savior. They understand what James wrote; “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2–4). How does suffering perfect us?
Paul helps us answer that question; “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3–5).
If you are going through any type of suffering, embrace (accept) what you are going through as God’s instrument to perfect your faith and make you more effective for Him.
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