Being a Christian does not prevent you from facing life challenges. Life challenges can either be to the young or old, man or woman, single or the married, believer or non-believer. Life challenges can be in form of suffering on any Christian but if your anchor holds during the storm, then you are assured of a testimony after the storm.
God has expectations for His children as to how we should deal with suffering because we have a solid foundation in Christ. Paul teaches us in Romans 8:16-17, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Our future glory and heritage depend on how faithful we are during the storms of life.
How can we remain real when the pain is so raw? How can we stay faithful when we want to throw everything inside us in the towel? How do we stay true when God appears distant? How can we remain faithful when our suffering goes on year after year, and God never seems to change our situation?
We find one of the answers of Paul in Romans 8:18 “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”.
Present Time Pain.
You might be tempted to tell Apostle Paul that he is unqualified to come to his conclusion because present-day sufferings are not worth comparing with what he suffered those days. But I want you to know that Apostle Paul has faced several afflictions and he still maintained his faith.
The Bible has a proof of this in 2 Corinthians 1:8–9, “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead”. Paul, in the midst of life suffering, was no stranger to hardship but he was faithful to Christ.
To Paul – and for us – the inspiration for faithfulness is the eternal reward that is ours. Yet what exactly is the promise of the future? Eternal rest, Crown of Glory, and many more juicy benefits awaits us at the parley gate
Can you imagine how it would be to be fully part of the family of God? It’s going to be more like the Garden of Eden; it is going to be more fun than Christmas; we will see Jesus face to face and lots more.
So take heart even though today’s pain is raw or you feel like tossing in the towel. We have an illusion that will never disappoint us. “Jesus deserves it”.
Nobody enjoys suffering, but suffering is a normal and necessary part of the Christian life. In fact, the Scripture teaches in 2 Timothy 2:3; 3:1–4, 13 that we should expect increased hardship and misery, so we must never get distracted of the storm of life.
From the book of 2 Timothy, we know that we may undergo suffering as an outcome of our testimony, our righteous living, or our standing for truth (2 Timothy 1:8; 2:8–9, 17–18; 3:6–8, 12). We may also experience suffering like rejection or loneliness (2 Timothy 1:15; 4:9–11; 4:16), or as a natural consequence of our fleshly, worldly desires (2 Timothy 2:22).
Suffering too will come; however, God in His kingdom will give us grace and strength to conquer every challenge and fulfill our goal and mission. Paul shares certain important truths about how we can endure the suffering in his second epistle to Timothy.
Each Christian suffers. Either you have, you are, or you will, it is affirmed in Acts 14:22 that we must enter the Kingdom of God through many tribulations.
This reality is a strong reminder for is to strive to reach the new heavens and new earth. The New Jerusalem of neither tears nor pain, no mourning or death, has not yet arrived. Yet just because we undergo suffering as we await our body’s salvation, that doesn’t mean our suffering is senseless or purposeless. And it doesn’t mean either that the scripture does not have a plan for our suffering.
TEN PRINCIPLES FOR ENDURING SUFFERING
1. Don’t forget why you suffer.
Remember your purpose, and whom you serve! The apostle Paul said in 2 Tim. 2:10 that he was able to suffer for preaching the gospel, because of the elect, and also for the glory of God. The pain (great or slight) may be used to achieve the same ends. Remember Jesus was nailed on the cross to bear the reason for our suffering.
2. Know you are a Christian inmate- not being persecuted for your sins or any other person but for the glory of God.
Do not be ashamed of our Lord’s testimony, or of me, his prisoner (2 Tim. 1:8).
3. Keep going back to the things you were doing
Strive to make the word of God an habit. At night do you doubt what you see with your lamp? Never!! JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. Remember that which you received in Christ as a result of your salvation (2 Tim. 1:5). Recall your calling and God’s grace (2 Timothy 1:1, 9–12).
4. Hold on and keep doing what God has called you to do.
Persevere, remain faithful, regardless of any opposition or hardship (2 Timothy 4:1-5).
Most Christian dropped their sword of battle during the storm. As for you, always be sober-minded, bear hardship, do an evangelist’s mission, carry out your ministry (2 Tim. 4:3, 5).
5. Trust God to deal with those who stand against the facts.
Don’t take things into your own hands, or become bitter and arguable. “But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will”. (2 Tim. 2:23-26).
6. Remember past times when the Lord has delivered you or saved you.
Be prompt in praising Him and bear witness to others (2 Tim. 3:11; 4:16–17).
7. Relying on the means God has given you:
God’s Grace (2 Tim. 1:2, 9; 2:1; 4:22)
God’s gift — your God-given capacity to serve Him (2 Timothy 1:6–7).
God’s power (rather than your own might) (2 Tim. 1:8; Phil. 2:13; Eph. 6:10).
The Holy Spirit dwelling within (2 Tim. 1:14).
God’s Word that keeps you grounded and gives you an insight (2 Tim. 2:7, 9; 3:12–17; 4:1–2).
8. Remember that in your suffering, you are not alone.
You’ve already got:
Christ’s presence (Matt. 28:20)
Other Faithful prayers (2 Tim. 1:3)
The “fellowship of suffering”—other Christians who face misery for Christ’s sake (2 Tim. 1:8; Heb. 13:3; Col. 1:24).
Cultivate these to help you sustain yourself:
Godly helpers — Search and also cultivate a group of like-minded believers whose faithfulness and prayers will encourage and support you (2 Timothy 1:2, 4–5; 4:9–13, 19–21).
Divine Heroes — Read the missionary biographies of other faithful believers so that God can cultivate both faith and wisdom in your heart (Heb. 13:7).
“But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;” (2 Timothy 3:10, 14).
Godly heritage-You should be able to instill confidence and bravery in the next generation when you hear of those who have gone before. Pass the baton on to others.
“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).
9. No matter how complicated things are today, you can looking ahead with hope. Trust in the Scriptural Truth.
The truth lies in:
One day all wrongs will be put right (2 Timothy 3:8–9; 4:14).
The Lord will deliver you in His time from all evil (2 Timothy 4:17–18).
” And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (2 Tim. 4:18).
All your sufferings, sacrifices, labors, and faithfulness will be rewarded in the “day” when the faithful shall stand before their Lord (2 Tim. 1:12, 18; 2:12; 4:8; Philippians 1:6, 10; 2:16; James 1:12).
“ Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (2 Tim. 4:8).
10. In all your sufferings honor Jesus Christ.
Remember Christ suffering on the cross of Calvary. He went through shame that we might be free. “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” (Hebrews 12:3–4).
How do we faithfully endure Christ’s suffering?
We must remember burdens are lifted at calvary
We must remember to endure suffering that the Word of God is unstoppable
We must remember the lost to endure suffering
We must continue to pray to bear suffering
To suffer, we must consider the reward of God
To suffer, we must remember the judgment of God
Expect to suffer — it’s inevitable — but don’t forget the powerful resource in Christ that you have. It depends on His ever-present care and protection for your future. He loves you, and He surly would allow you to survive.