It is not a popular message in most places that coming to Christ as Savior will include a path of suffering. But that was the message at Saul’s conversion; “For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name” (Acts 9:16). Jesus warned the disciples just before He departed them for His sufferings; “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours” (John 15:20).
Consider what Hebrews say about our example; “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (12:2).
I find it interesting when asking believers for things they want me to pray for that most of their requests center around being relieved of suffering and trials instead of asking God to help then grow as a result of what they are going through. James makes this very plain when he says, “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).
We often miss the greatest benefits of suffering because we fail to see what God is doing in and through them. If you are going through some kind of difficulty, trial or suffering, will you honestly ask God to show you what He intends you to learn through them? It is for perfecting of your faith.
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