The Art of Suffering: Pt1 – Except Me, Right?

By: Victoria Harrington
Suffering is not a message that I expect many of you to read about, but I would be doing you  a disservice if I didn’t share with you what the Holy Spirit has taught me and hopefully we can learn  HOW to suffer together. Welcome to Part 1.
Through the teachings of a popular gospel message that obnoxiously chants about prosperity, we have naively bought the lie that suffering is not something we should have to go through. Prosperity is wonderful and we do have promises made to us and to hope for in God’s Word, but to only focus on the one subject is essentially neutering the American church. Her power and authority is then thought to be found only in her wallet and leads to the thought process of “God must only be happy with me when I am financially stable.”

Nothing could be further from the truth, but there are very few teaching on what the Bible says about suffering. Although it is not a popular message it is not something that we as Christians can escape from and Jesus addresses that bluntly in the scriptures.

“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 keep yours also.”  John 15:20 NKJV

 He does not want us as his followers to be caught off guard or unprepared for when we do suffer.  We ought not to run away and cower in the face of trial, but to put on our gospel shoes of peace and believe that “all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” (Romans 8:28). All things. Take a look at the book of Acts. The Christians were scattered due to persecution. Jesus made it clear that he wanted the disciples to go out to all the world and minister the gospel. The enemy was attempting to stop this from happening and what Satan thought was a master plan to eradicate the Gospel actually made it spread faster and into many more nations. Imagine for a moment if Stephen would not have been martyred and the persecution in Acts had not happened? The Good News wouldn’t have traveled far out of Jerusalem or had the impact that it did as quickly as it did.
“At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.”
I think a lot of the times we see the men and women in the Bible as larger than life “characters” who had something we don’t. In reality they real people. Human being with feelings, opinions, and needs. They has all the struggles that we go through and fleshly desires they had to makes choices to fight against. The 3,000 converted by the apostles were the same as you and I. In my humble opinion had the persecution not happened the people who heard the gospel in Acts would have converted, stayed home, and expected someone else to travel and spread the news just like we do with mission work today. They would have not been prompted to leave the comfort of their homes, communities, or countries. Instead God used a bad situation to work His will. In this way we can say that persecution is just a scattering of witnesses and the best thing for us to do is to say aloud,  “Lord I trust you.”