1 THESSALONIANS 3:4
“For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came to pass, as you know.”
Do you know what instantly popped into my head when I read this verse today? I thought of Jesus telling His disciples that He would suffer. In fact, in Matthew He tells them this on three separate occasions. What did they do? In one instance, Peter is rebuked by Jesus for saying this can’t be. In another it says they were deeply grieved.
It’s still the same today as it was in Paul’s day or Jesus’ day. People don’t want to hear anything about suffering. If you tell anyone that you are willing to die for the gospel, they think you are crazy. If you say the afflictions and sufferings you face will make you more like Christ, they want to get you counseling. But it’s true.
As followers of Christ, we should expect afflictions. We should expect persecutions. We should, in fact, welcome the opportunity to suffer for Jesus. It is called a gift in Scripture. Who doesn’t want a gift? But try telling your little Gertrude you are going to get her a gift of suffering. That won’t be received well.
What you should do, however, is take the opportunity the next time there is a gift giving occasion in your family to explain this gift of suffering. Read them this verse. Read them the passages in Matthew mentioned above. It is important they know that if and when they suffer for Jesus, it is part of His plan to use them for His glory.
Now that I’ve said all that, are you ready to suffer? I told you it’s going to come. Are you willing? Are you prepared to receive this gift yourself? I can’t say it will be easy, but it will give Him glory when we praise Him through it all.
Lord, I am not even worthy to suffer in Your name. I don’t like the idea of afflictions, but if it can be used to bring Your glory, I’m all in. I trust You in the struggle.