“But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.’” -1 Peter 3:14
In America, our suffering most often looks like being mocked, losing a business deal or job, getting kicked out of the country club, or being considered too religious. For other believers around the world, suffering for their faith may be as extreme as losing their life.
What do we do when we know our convictions about Jesus Christ will cause suffering?
In our culture today, disagreement equals intolerance, and God’s Word increasingly disagrees with the ways of our world. This is especially true since it points to Christ as the only path to salvation in a world that promotes multiple ways to God (John 14:6).
It is clear that living out His truth will cause us to “suffer for what is right (1 Peter 3:14)."
What I’ve found lately is that the most aggressive gospel opposition is not open to think through issues in a rational, intelligent, and logical sense.
So what is the promised blessing that frees us to “‘not fear their threats (1 Peter 3:14)’” when we’re threatened with rejection, mockery, and embarrassment?
We must remember to trust God’s way because it is always the best for us. God says He will bless us in suffering, and we must walk with a faith that believes what He says is true.
In suffering, our Heavenly Father blesses us with His presence and power, giving us everything we need to respond with grace and truth. In our deepest hurts, mockery, and rejection, Jesus is closer and more real than at any other time in our lives.
“So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” -2 Timothy 1:8
Paul was so convinced of God’s nearness in suffering that he invited Timothy to join Him in it by being unashamed of the name of Jesus. Brothers and sisters, we can learn from this example.
When our hurts are deep and rejection is most painful, remember that you are covered by the presence of the Lord God Almighty. May we learn together that the promise to Moses is our promise today.
“‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’“ –Exodus 33:14
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John's travels for ministry behind the Iron Curtain led him to found East-West Ministries International in 1993. John and his wife, Susie, live in Dallas, Texas and have a grown daughter and two grandchildren.