Sunday, August 30, 2009

Perseverance in Suffering

How do we see suffering? We often picture suffering as those of people with torn clothes and blood stains in their bodies, or hunger and discrimination for those people enduring the life of scarcity and paucity.

But what does it really mean to suffer in Christ? Does that mean we have to really die on the cross just like Him?

No. Christ never asked for that ‘cause He already did that for us. What He’s asking us is just to have faith in Him alone.

But then again, as Christians, we are always prone to persecutions and mockery by those people who are still blinded by wordly things.

Take for example in your office: Everyone’s excited for Friday night because it means party and gimmick time again. Your colleagues asked you to come and party all night with them—of course, that also means drink alcohol with them. Drinking alcohol is not forbidden in the Bible, but it’s drunkenness that is. Not wanting to be drunk, you begged off from their invitation. The minute you said no, thank you, you were already greeted with boos and name-callings such as ‘baduy,’ ‘loser,’ ‘boring,’ etc. Sometimes, people would even comment, “ganyan pala maging Christian, nagiging baduy!” See, you are being taunted just because you want to follow God’s rule.

Or in school during exams: When your classmates would tell you they’ll sit next to you because they’re planning on cheating, and you decided to sit near the teacher. As expected, they will tell you: “wala ka naman pakisama eh. Kaya nga kami tumabi sa’yo para makakopya eh tapos tatabi ka kay ma’am. Christian ka pa naman pero ang damot mo!”

As Christians, we are often being observed by people and as if waiting religiously for us to commit a mistake so they could mock us to prove that being a Christian is not really a good choice.

But here’s the catch: Whether we chose to be righteous and follow God’s rules or continue following the rules of this world, we will still suffer whichever way. The difference is that with God, we are bearing under righteousness but there’s a wonderful promise of salvation we are looking forward to. But with sin, we are also suffering but with nothing to look forward to.

Friends, it is a lot wonderful to suffer because you are fighting for the name of Jesus than to suffer because of your sins. Suffering for God will yield us a good future, a good life ahead with Him. But letting ourselves suffer because of our worldly pleasures will only bring us to eternal damnation.

I particularly liked the example of Pastor Nixon in this morning service about an employee who is doing her best to get her work done but her boss still criticizes her. A normal person would deal with this situation by means of not exerting effort anymore or be unmindful of her job. But a persevering person would deal with it in a way that God would want her to deal with it—by continuously doing her best because she knows that it is for God that she’s doing her work and for her boss. And as what Pastor Nixon put it, “hold on more to God rather than on your boss.”

God never sleeps. He is never deaf nor blind of our sufferings. He knows very well what to do in all our situations. There are moments in our lives when we feel God is very far away because He is not answering our prayers. The truth is, He is just beside us. God never leaves us. In those trying times, God might just want us to learn something from our present situation that He lets us endure it first.
Sometimes, the reason why He is not giving us what we’re asking Him is because we are still unripe for that desire of ours. It’s not our season yet. It is best to wait patiently for the Lord’s coming because it really pays waiting for Him. The Lord’s coming here means the Lord’s perfect time. Not a single soul regretted waiting for God’s perfect timing.

Let us not focus on the many whys we have in our lives, it will do us no good. Rather, let’s focus on the WHO that could make things possible for our own goodness. Hold on more to God and not on the negativity that this world is putting in our hearts or the people that’s making our life miserable.

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