by Evang. Victor Aina
The idea of suffering generally is not palatable. But it is a road we must pass through – it is a plate that God serves to all and sundry. Wait a minute, are you saying all and sundry includes Christians? That’s not what the preachers say! Well, you need to make a difference between what your Pastors say and what the Bible says. That’ what I intend to do in this piece, with my emphasis being THROUGH IT ALL, GOD IS FAITHFUL – HE WILL SEE YOU THROUGH AND USE THE TRAVAILS TO PREPARE YOU FOR HEAVEN.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 AMP “All has been heard; the end of the matter is: Fear God [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is] and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man [the full, original purpose of his creation, the object of God’s providence, the root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun] and the whole [duty] for every man.”
The reason God created us is to know Him and keep His commandments; as Revelations 4:11 tells us that He created we just to give Him pleasure. So if you are not giving pleasure to God, you are just wasting your time – your life is a waste.
You may say that if things were going on well in your life, if you didn’t have to face any hardships, then it would have been easier for your life to be pleasing to God. You need to know that God will not go against His commandments because He is a faithful God. So you need to embrace obedience to God’s word despite whatever you are facing in these times, more than ever before. You need to know where to draw strength from even when it seems everything around you is giving way. Do you trust God; do you know Him to the point where you can surrender all to Him?
2 Timothy 2:8-10 KJV “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
In verse 8 which reads “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel” Paul personalized Christ when he said, “according to my gospel”. Can we say Paul was a good Christian before Jesus was crucified? No, he wasn’t. So that means the same access which Paul had to Christ, we have it today. He personalized Christ. Are you so confident in the God you serve such that you don’t run from pillar to post when things go wrong? What is your faith in God? Is it what you hear from someone else concerning Jesus that you run with? If we don’t settle some of these things, we would find it so difficult to practice Christianity. These are foundations we have to put in place so that we would become unmovable when the storms of life arise.
The Bible says in Daniel 11:32, “… that those that know their God shall be strong and will do exploits.” There are degrees of knowing God: knowing Him as your friend and knowing Him as your confidant; somebody that is first in your life. Knowing God does not take trouble away from your life, because knowing Him will pitch you against the world, and the world would comply with you. 1 John 2:16 says that anyone who loves the world or the things of the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life—does not have the love of the Father in him. Challenges will come and I am talking about challenges that arise due to the embrace of the word of God.
1 Peter 4:15-16 KJV “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. The apostles faced trouble, and when they were beaten, they went about glorifying God because they were counted worthy to be able to suffer the course of the gospel. Can you rejoice in suffering? And if not, then why not?
Verse 17: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” This tell us that apart from the challenges we face in world, Jesus Christ Himself punishes us, and He punishes only those He loves as He said in Hebrews 12:3-6: When you are been chastened by the Lord, it is a sign of acceptance.
The Bible says in Hebrews 12:1 – 2 that we should look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Jesus endured, so whatever we are going through here are just light afflictions. Paul went to different levels of prisons; and endured false accusations, both publicly and within the fold. That was why he said Romans 8:35, what is it that will separate us from the love God? It got to a point he said “I may be in chains, but the word of God is not bound”. There are times that where you find yourself is a privilege that God Himself has created so that you can proclaim the gospel, but what you do at such points? Do you grumble or murmur? At the end of the day we lose the lessons we are supposed to learn by our wrong attitude – reactions.
In 2 Timothy 3:12, Paul said, “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution.” It is then up to you to either leave godly or not. Somewhere in Acts says through many tribulations shall we enter into the kingdom of God. And the Apostle Peter said we should count it not strange when we fall into divers temptations (1 Peter 3:13, 17).
Either you do good or evil, you will suffer. We should know that when we endure for the sake of Christ, we do not only give Him glory, we set examples and encourage others. It helps other believers to triumph into victory. Even Paul said in 2 Timothy 2:10, “I endure all things for the elect’s sake Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” He went through all the reproach he faced not for himself, but for the sake of other believers. When you are reproached, you are taking upon yourself the spirit and the glory of God. above all, the Bible describes whatever challenge you are going through as a light affliction (1 Corinthians 4:17).
1 Peter 2:20–21 (NASU) says, “For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. (God opens doors of favour for you when you endure righteous suffering.) For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.”
And remember that “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13). God will make a way of escape through temptations, but that way of escape referred to here is that “you will be able to bear it.” For every trial, there are lessons you need to learn through it, so trials don’t just come. But when it comes, accept responsibility and commit it into God’s hands.
2 Timothy 2:11-13 “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: if we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” This scripture is saying in other words: if you don’t suffer, you can’t reign with Him; and as far as you meet his conditions, what is supposed to follow will follow. But you must not enter into that condition with half knowledge of the way He operates. There are things you need to know about this faithful God, so that when He is being faithful you will not begin to question His faithfulness even when it is working for you. It is said that all things work together for the good for those that love Him and those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Romans 3:3-4 (MSG) “True, some of them were unfaithful; but just because they were unfaithful, does that mean God will be unfaithful? Of course not! Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true. I disagree with that saying that says that the voice of the people is the voice of God.”
2 Timothy 4:3-5 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”
The time is here already, when people don’t endure sound doctrine because everyone is looking for the easy way out. There is a dimension of God that you may not see unless you get to the point of endurance. The three Hebrew boys had seen something about God that was beyond fire, so fire was not a threat to them. When the fire saw its nature (in them), it embraced them, but the people who threw them into the furnace were strange flesh so the fire it consumed them. God had purified the three Hebrew boys in the furnace of affliction and challenges to conform to His image so fire could not do anything to them.
Beloved, don’t bow to pressure; don’t allow external things dictate the pace of your life, rather, let God be true in your life, because at the end of the day, you’ll win. You need to tell others about this
2 Timothy 2:16-19 “But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
When Do You Handle Challenges and afflictions When They Arise?
Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
God a covenant keeping God, and God has unfailing love and faithfulness (Deuteronomy7:9; 34:6 ) He says He will respond at His right time (Isaiah 49:7-8). So whatever the situation, God knows when enough is enough, because whatever He does in our lives is to achieve an end. You can only rely on God irrespective of what is going on. Remember, He that keeps us neither sleeps nor slumber (Psalm 121).
Hebrews 10:23 affirms that God can be trusted, and 1 Peter 1:25 shows us that His Word does not end here. Numbers 23:19 says God cannot lie, and 1 Corinthians 1:9 says He does whatever He says and He says whatever He does. So if you are going to be like Him, then you must begin to match your words with your actions. Men of integrity cannot be separated from their word.
Joshua 21:43-45 KJV “And the Lord gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. And the Lord gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand. There failed not ought of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.”
Where we miss it is the difference between the pronouncement and fulfillment of what God says. The Israelites did not get the land God promised them in one year or two years. Also, many battles were fought. Though God had given them the land, they had to contend for it in battle. Many battles were fought and not without some failures along the way; not without some loss of lives. At a point God wanted to wipe all of them out, but Moses pleaded and said gave God good reason and God listened. So challenges may come, but that cannot nullify the fact that God is faithful.
It is only God that tells us what He wants and that was why He said straight is the road and narrow is the gate that leads to life; if you don’t experience the difficulties associated with the narrowness of the Road, then know that you are not on that road. Straight is the road and narrow is the way that leads to heaven, but very few are they that find it.
Gladys A. Ward served as a missionary in China before World War II when Japan army invaded northern China. Taking with her a hundred orphans into the mountain, she despaired ever making it to safety. After a sleepless night she was reminded by a 13 year old girl of Moses and the parting of the red Sea. Then she said, “But I am not Moses”; the girl replied, “Of course you aren’t, but Jehovah is still God!” This word is not just true, but it is the word for today. When many Christians go through hard times, they think God has forsaken them. Every trial has a purpose, nothing happens by coincidence to the children of God. It had to take an orphan that Gladys A. Ward was trying to rescue to minister to her again. The good news of that testimony was that all of them were rescued despite her hopelessness.
God Knows What You Are Going Through.
Job said, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10). Without trial, you cannot shine.
Romans 5:3-4 KJV “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
Most of us do not know the real love of Christ because we refuse to go through the process that is supposed to take us to that point. The only thing that can humble the flesh is suffering. If the flesh is not reduced, you cannot be a good spiritual person.
1 Peter 1:7 KJV “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” If the trial of your faith is better than gold, then the process of purification too will be higher than that of gold, but are you ready to pay the price so that this faithful God can reveal Himself in your life? If your challenges are not coming from God, all that the enemy wants is for you to lose your joy, yet God says we should be thankful at all times, in all things. (1 Thessalonians 5:18). James 1:2-4 says we should not lose heart when we fall into divers temptations, because what is being tested is our faith.
James 1:4 KJV “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” It is not that you would not need anything again, but you will get to a place of self-sufficiency in Christ. Anxiety and panicking would have lost their grip on you where you can say if God did not give me, it is either it is not time yet or I don’t need it; a point where you can trust His judgment completely.
My life is supposed to please God and not me, so why should I be looking for my own comfort? When God invites you, when you submit to Him, you told Him that you give Him your life. He invites you to submit to Him as a faithful creator.
1 Peter 4:19 KJV “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” Commit it to Him and let Him take care of it. The Bible says cast your burden on Him, but some people keep holding on to it. If you carry what you are supposed to throw away, then that thing will eventually destroy your system, because it is not good for you. Those things block your eyes that you cannot rejoice in Him; they disrupt your prayer life that you cannot praise him willingly from the depth of your heart and they obstruct your judgments such that you begin to walk in envy of your fellow brethren unknowingly.
A small boy was flying a kite high into the sky when it drifted into a cloud bank and disappeared from view. A passerby asked the little boy what he was doing, “I am flying my kite” the child replied. The man looking up and seeing the cloud bank said, “I don’t see any kites, so how do you know it is still up there?” “I don’t see it either”, the boy replied,” but I know it is up there because every once in awhile, there is a tug on my string”.
Many Christians feel God has disappeared just when they needed Him most; but just because you cannot feel Him or see Him doesn’t mean He’s not there. Remember He said “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).
Luke 21:14 “Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.” Settle it in your hearts, The God we serve does not desert people; He is a faithful God and He can be trusted.