“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:211 Peter 4:12-19
Though the Bible is clear that followers of Jesus will suffer, we often feel shocked and dismayed to learn of hardships and trouble that befall Christians.
Those who preach the prosperity “gospel” see things differently. One popular televangelist says, “There is a belief that you’re supposed to be poor and suffering and show humility. I just don’t see the Bible that way.” This type of teaching wrongly divides everything into two separate and distinct categories—either you receive a blessing from God, or you suffer. With this reasoning, those who suffer feel rejected by God and neglect to look for His blessings in the midst of pain.
By seeing that suffering is expected for followers of Christ and by trusting God in our most trying times, we can join with the late Paul Brand, missionary surgeon, who said, “I have come to see pain and pleasure come not as opposite, but as Siamese twins, strangely joined and intertwined. Nearly all of my moments of acute happiness, in fact, involved some element of pain and struggle.”
Let’s say with Paul, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).