“After preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God. ”
In the true art of reading God’s Word, I found a portion of scripture that we’d all like to skip over. You know the ones that I am talking about- the ones that make you wonder about the whole package that you signed up for when you became a Christ follower. When I came across this, the question that arose in my heart for the title was “must I suffer?” Do I have to go through the trials of life and deal with all of the disappointments that come with them?
It is easy to get sold on the fact that if we follow Christ that we will get our Rolls Royce, gold watch, and a million dollars in the bank. Unfortunate as it may sound, these promises that many teachers give for coming to the altar, are simply not true. If that is the case, I need to know who lost my contract with God on this.
In all seriousness, when we go through these trials in our lives, I believe that it makes us appreciate our lives even more as we are going through it. The believers in the passage in Acts were going through the great tribulations of life. However, they knew that if they stood the test that they would be able to see the treasure on the other side.
It has helped me to read God’s word to see that we are not alone in these trials. As a matter of fact, in James 1, we read where the church was encouraged to persevere because their faithfulness would pay off.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
Can you imagine that there will be a time that we will find ourselves in a perfect state, complete, and needing nothing? It is hard to fathom the simple truth that we will see a day where these things will come true. While you and I are going through these things, our hope is that we will come out stronger and find ourselves in a better place.