For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ (2 Corinthians 1:5)
What do you know about suffering? Do you think about it very much? It’s not really a subject of choice – especially for those of us who are called according to His purpose in this country. Oh sure, we know that people suffer because of war, poverty, various tragedies of weather and what is generally called “acts of God.” A friend is suffering because her close friends were in a very bad traffic accident and although the occupants of the car are alive, they are in critical and serious condition in the hospital. So the four passengers are suffering physical trauma and psychological trauma and my friend is suffering from the concern for them.
Another friend is suffering from the effects of chemo-therapy. Actually two friends are experiencing that. Chemicals that kill the cancer cells also kill the healthy cells leaving little to rejoice over. Eventually I hope and pray that they will recover and that horrible treatment will have done it’s job and they both will be cancer free.
Yes, suffering is all around us in this country except for one kind – we really have not seen a lot of suffering because of faith in Christ Jesus our Savior. Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” (Matthew 5:11) And, he said it in a way that was pretty clear, it was going to happen at some point in life. He had just said, “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10) This teaches that it was occurring, it was something that happened.
Suffering for the sake of righteousness and persecution because of a belief in Christ Jesus has been more rare than common in the United States of America – with some exceptions because there are always exceptions.
To be brief, what I am saying is that American Christians have not experienced much in the way of persecution and tribulation because of their faith in Christ.
But this is changing. I believe that there is a winnowing going on among those who have believed they were Christians in this country. This winnowing will sift through and many will turn from their profession because they have never truly believed in the Son of God.