“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 KJV) We know from the Apostle’s writing that he and those with him often suffered troubles that we might not ever either experience or even understand. But we have personal troubles as Christians that we experience and also do not understand. One would tend to believe that a Christian, God’s child, would be protected from troubles. Not so, for the Word tells us, “But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. (2 Timothy 3:10-11 KJV) Paul describes persecutions in his ministry, and rejoices in that the Lord delivered him out of all of them. But do the Apostle’s troubles follow us? Yes!, for he says in the next verse, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12 KJV)
If we, then, are to suffer persecution for living Godly, and Paul said that God had delivered him out of all of them, how was this accomplished? According to Paul, he found strength in his weakness: ”Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10 KJV) We tend to believe that to suffer is to be oppressed, but to suffer is to “put up with” or endure.
Paul’s weakness of body or spirit brought him to depend most fully upon the Lord’s power for his endurance. We remember the promise of God that, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV) , and that God intends for us to “endure to the end”; “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Mark 13:13 KJV) So Paul prevailed by faith in the promises of God, believing Him for strength, protection and endurance.
So, when the waters of life around you are troubled by persecution for the cause of living Godly in Christ, thank God for the privilege and opportunity to suffer with Him, knowing that: “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:” (2 Timothy 2:12 KJV) Paul suffered with Christ and, so, reigned with Him. He testified to this when he declared, ”what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me“. What victory, what joy, what increase of faith, what fellowship in Christ. We remember Christ’s most selfless offering of Himself for us, suffering victoriously to the end when He said “It is finished”. He spoke here not of our suffering, but His. Just as He suffered on to His resurrection victory, we by His grace with our suffering will join Him on that day when all will have been accomplished by His faith for those who are willing, as He, to take up their cross and follow Him through troubled waters, the Lord helping.
WTL Ministry http://www.wtlministry.org 5/9/02