By Pastor Dr. Ronnie W. Wolfe
Affliction is given to each of us, especially to believers in Jesus Christ. We cannot forget the words of Philippians 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
Jesus himself was appointed to suffer, or be afflicted. Notice these scriptures:
Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
Jesus' whole vocation on earth was to culminate in suffering. He said himself in John 18:11 Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?
Luke 24:46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
The word behoved means "a necessity is put upon me." He must die.
Mark 8:31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
So, Jesus is our example, not simply of living a righteous life, but also to expect and endure suffering. We are told in 1 Peter 2:20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
Suffering and patience go hand in hand. Patience, of course, means to endure, to bear a burden, and it is this patience that is prevalent in believers.
We shall see persecution and suffering in our own lives, so what shall we do? Should we pull back away from suffering and surrender through compromise, or should we endure the suffering as a witness to the world that we have a God and a Savior who is much greater than this world and a world to come that is above and beyond anything this world can offer, and of which suffering is worthy?