Friday, September 6, 2013

The Gift of Suffering

"For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in Him but also suffer for His sake . . ." ~ Phil. 1:29

I just read this, & felt that stirring in my spirit that always indicates the Holy Spirit's nudging. "Pay attention to this", He seemed to whisper. What caught my attention was the word "granted", which has the connotation of a gift. That means that, according to this verse, not only is our belief in Christ a gift from God, but so is suffering for Him! We could lump in our everyday trials, & in a sense that's certainly true. But the wording, "for His sake" leads me to think of suffering through persecution. That would mean that when our society persecutes bakers or photographers for refusing to serve in a homosexual union ceremony - to use two recent examples - that persecution is a gift from God. And when, like Paul did when he was persecuted for Christ's sake, believers stand firm in their convictions while responding with grace, He is glorified. Just like with Paul, the Gospel will be preached & sinners will repent & believe. What a glorious thought! When viewed through this lens - that our persecution leads to others' salvation - we can see the gift so clearly, & we can rejoice in our suffering, knowing that God is using us to fulfill His purposes! How truly amazing is our God!