QUINOA (1)

We are shocked when bad things happen to good people. Especially when it’s us or someone we really love.

We are surrounded by extraordinary trials in the news and stories that are getting closer to home. My head doesn’t know how to process and my heart aches. I pray for God to stop the evil and Jesus come quickly.

I’m in a Bible study for Revelation. It’s timely. Honestly, the idea of really suffering for Jesus is so foreign. I sat at my kitchen table and sobbed through the last lesson — not out of fear of tribulations, but for all the years I’ve misunderstood suffering and my role.

I confess I’ve run from discomfort, pain, embarrassment, being outnumbered, and anything that could resemble suffering. But in those moments, I’ve diluted the Gospel, thinking those were bad for me. When in actuality, I could have missed the greatest moments in my faith and the faith of others.

The testimony of the moments we have overcome in the Spirit are the ones Jesus will celebrate as we stand before the throne.

I’ve figured out one truth: Perseverance is our individual choice. Like forgiveness, perseverance is an act of worshipful obedience to our righteous and holy King Jesus.

Since God tells us in His Word to expect suffering and trials — they will come, don’t be surprised — we can prepare ourselves and our families to overcome. Not just endure, but to glorify Him through the process of our faith, no matter the story He has written for us.

It’s about being prepared. Not expecting the worst or assuming every turn has trouble lurking, but being ready if and when life gets bumpy because we believe in Jesus.

What faith am I practicing when I bypass all the times Jesus tells His followers they will be disciplined because God loves them better than their own Daddy?

Why would I think in this modern age that no true Jesus follower will suffer if they just do all the things right?

What if my discomfort, trials, and sometimes real suffering is a gauge for the temperature of my faith?

What if I’m too comfortable with easy and, therefore, don’t look for opportunities God is calling me to minister in, that might bring discomfort or even wrath?

I want to praise Jesus in the moments of answered prayers and extreme blessings only a child of God could fathom. But I also want to raise my voice in “Hallelujah!” in the times of trials and suffering, thanking our Savior for an opportunity to choose perseverance and overcome.

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The moments we’ve overcome in the Spirit are the ones Jesus will celebrate as we stand before the throne. {Tweet this!}

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  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Stephanie,
    Sometimes, honestly, I grow weary from persevering. Our pastor said something this past Sunday about our trials and obstacles giving us a chance to either “give up” or “grow up”. By grow up, he meant grow in closeness, love, and devotion to Christ. I look back at my life and I see many trials and hardships that were not fun. I did not like being IN the crucible at the time, but I do have to say that suffering has definitely grown my relationship with my Lord and Savior. I have seen His faithfulness to see me THROUGH the trials, to never forsake me, and to build my faith and confidence. But, you are right, our trials and suffering are nothing compared to our brothers and sisters in Christ in other countries who not only suffer, but are persecuted and tortured for their faith, yet I see a strength in their faith that I do not see in mine. Suffering and pain does, indeed, build dependence and reliance on God which is where we ideally need to be – totally dependent on Him. Though I do not relish suffering, I do look at it in a whole different light. Your post beautifully illustrates this…thank you!
    Blessings,
    Bev

  • Ann Rowland

    ” Perseverance is our individual choice. Like forgiveness, perseverance is an act of worshipful obedience to our righteous and holy King Jesus.” I love this truth. Suffering comes in all forms and God calls us all to suffer in different ways. Yes, if I were to compare my suffering with someone going through or helping someone they love through a terminal illness or addiction or tough times with a child or a broken marriage, it might seem trivial. But God calls us all to persevere and to take up our own individual cross and follow Him. At so many points in my life, I have chosen to give up rather than persevere and I wonder if I have missed out on blessings because of that choice. I pray for the strength to persevere with Christ through my personal trials and suffering and to stand alongside others as they go through their own as well. In Jesus Name, I pray.

  • http://www.Trueandfaithful.net Lisa Appelo @True and Faithful

    “What if I’m too comfortable with easy and, therefore, don’t look for opportunities God is calling me to minister in, that might bring discomfort or even wrath?” Yes and yes. None of us wants to invite suffering over to the table, but we all know deep down that God teaches hard and fast in trials and pain. I just dug into Revelation as well to teach in our ladies class…so very timely. Thank you for this — nodding my head along with you.

  • Lovelle

    I love this Stephanie! I wrote about something similar. It comes out tomorrow. Struggles give us endurance and bad situations help us grow. Thank you for your raw and honest post. I love it. By the way… YOU ARE AWESOME!

  • Penny

    Thank-you Stephanie for your well spoken, meaningful post,

    There was a time when I never would of thought I would be where I am today. If not for the Lord I know I would n’t be. He does not want us to give up, lose Hope, Trust or Faith, but to “persevere”. Through hardship we can find it and we can learn from it.

    Penny

  • Beth Williams

    Stephanie,

    Jesus clearly states in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” He didn’t say you will have ease, comfort–he stated trials and troubles! Jesus didn’t have it easy in this world, why do we think we should have it easy? One thing trials bring us closer to God. When faced with trials most of us turn to Him and pray!! If we would persevere like those elsewhere in the world then we will receive the crown of glory!
    I heard this on a radio broadcast: Find a need and fill it and find a hurt and heal it! Jesus wants us to persevere and help others!
    Blessings :)

  • Gretchen Gibbs

    Thank you for this post. I have started as a volunteer with CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocate) to work with abused and neglected children. I confess I am nervous and stepping outside my comfort zone…but God is with me every step of the way. I have been too comfortable for too long…and the reality is..it is NOT about me but it is about the kids and being the hands and feet of Christ to them.

  • R.V.S.

    I am currently in bed, relaxing after spending the morning in the ER for horrible pain related to an ovarian cyst. My husband missed a morning of business & money sitting with me at the ER. My husband’s car has experienced expensive car trouble. My oldest daughter’s car has been out of commission for a while & she is downstairs sufferring from a bad cold which resulted in her missing time from 2 jobs and a meeting with her 3rd (she also insisted on being here for me). I also just missed a week of work (mostly unpaid) to help my elderly mother who fell and had to have surgery. The fall resulted in her injuring her spine which already suffered from spinal stinosis. Sounds like a pretty bad week huh? Nope…because I love and celebrate a wonderful God whose blessings outweigh these tribulations:

    1-The ER nurse diagnosed me with ovarian “cysts” and not “cancer”. Praise God!
    2-My youngest daughter, a high school senior, received the wonderful news that she has an A in her math class so far. Math has been a thorny subject for her. Halleluah!
    3-My oldest daughter has jobs in which her managers are very understanding. My God is awesome!
    4-My husband has been blessed financially in the past with his business and is faithful that God will continue to bless him. Our God always provides!
    5. My mothers recovery has been amazingly swift and my aunt is with her when I cannot be. What a wonderful God we serve!
    6. I have a souce that can assist with any financial loss during this time. God is mighty and powerful!
    7-My oldest daughter’s car troubles were not too expensive. Thank you Lord!
    8- We are still smiling and laughing and living are able to serve as a testimony.What a good God we serve!
    9. I am blessed with a beautiful, supportive family. God always provides!

    • Webbgurl2000

      When it’s raining hard on us, we just need to be prepared with rain boots and umbrella. Suffering comes to everyone. He promised we would have trials, but ULTIMATELY, we WIN BECAUSE HE OVERCAME THE WORLD. THAT’S it. Sometimes, when the downpour seems too great, I want a break, and feel sorry for myself. I’m learning to embrace Him anyway.

      • R.V.S.

        Amen, Webbgurl2000 !!! I’m striving to keep a sturdy supply of spiritual rain boots and unbrellas! Thank you for the encouragement, you are added to my Spiritual Sisters list. I will pray for you now.