Suffering for Christ

One evening I had what was like a vision. I was standing up and praying and then I saw the Lord Jesus standing before me. This has only happened a few brief times in my life where I have seen Him. On this night I don’t remember any details of what He looked like, only what I heard.

He held out His hands to hold mine. I was given an opportunity to ask Him one question, any question I wanted to ask Him. I asked the Lord a question with but a single word, “why”? It is the one question that I think most of us would ask. Why God has allowed suffering into our life.

The Lord answered me with only a few words, “To draw you closer to Myself”. This completely wrecked me. That with a few words I gained a spiritual understanding I never thought possible. That with just a few words in a brief moment He gave me an understanding about years of my suffering.

I learned this night that through a short period of suffering, though it lasts a lifetime, that I would be closer to the Lord Jesus, and this was the most precious truth I had ever heard. I hate to suffer, but I embrace what it produces in me.

If from a lifetime of suffering you would gain eternal life, that you would be nearer to the Lord Jesus Christ, and even be useful in ministering to others, be sure that the exchange rate is arguably worth it.

Jesus loves you so much, that there is no suffering He would withhold from you if it would draw you nearer to Himself. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory…” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

The Lord Jesus blesses us with trials that draw us closer to Himself.

Never ask for God’s favor thinking it is favor from the world’s view. God’s favor is to do a work in us, and sometimes that work involves a tearing down.

When you see how circumstances draw you nearer to God, then you will understand God’s plans more clearly. “…so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27).

His plans are always good, whether we see it or not.

Never question His methods knowing His motives are always pure.

In your natural life, all your efforts are to gain independence. In your spiritual life, God must break your independence such that you would depend upon Him. The harder you resist, the harder must be the lesson. “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart and saves such as have a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

God sometimes must break you before He can pour through you.

Do not measure the love of God by your suffering but measure your suffering in light of the love of God. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

Nothing precious comes easy. Nothing worthwhile is without price. If suffering ends, praise God for the healing. If suffering remains, praise God for growing you in the trial. If suffering increases, praise God who is choosing to do a greater work in you.

Consider that the reason for your troubles are that you would cry out for Christ. “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry entered His ears” (2 Samuel 22:7).

Suffering is the window through which we call out to God.

Kingdom principles rarely make sense according to the logic of the world.

If you won’t accept His rebuke, then don’t ask for His counsel. Otherwise, simply let His word have its perfect way in you, whether it hurts or not. “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:5-6).

Jesus is not in the business of making your moments all happy, but in drawing you near to Himself.

The journey to be in Christ is not a thousand miles, but a single turn.

You don’t have to change to draw near to Him, but He will change you when you are near. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” (James 4:8).

Blessings to you,

Paul

All Scripture is in red and uses the NKJV (New King James Version) translation unless otherwise noted.


16 thoughts on “Suffering for Christ

  1. This reinforces my conviction that I had to suffer through all of that depression and anxiety to get closer to where God wants me. And it’s a great reminder to work on drawing closer to Him RIGHT NOW, when things are going well. God expects us to go to Him when things are awful, so I think it’s a real treat for Him when we do it because we want to, and not just because we’re at the point where we have to.

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    1. It is so wonderful when we can get on the other side where we get it. Where we can see in hindsight what God knew in foresight all along. I love the quote by Billy Graham, “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future”. It is with the child like faith in knowing your parents will take care of you, that a child of God can know their heavenly Father will so much more take care of them. And yes, yes, and yes we need to draw near to Him in the good times, such that if a bad time comes along, we are already right where we need to be!

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  2. super teachings. book coming along. Keeps me really busy. Pressing in to the finish. Perhaps fall, but more yet to do publishing etc. editor is working hard also. then copyrights, and on and on. but I’m excited. god is faithful as you know! Keep up the great work.

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    1. Thank you! Can’t wait to read your book. Keep pressing in! Oh, God is so faithful, beyond what we can even grasp! And thank you so much for your encouragement, it means the world to me!

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  3. WOW!! Just in awe! This message is so profound Paul! This is exactly where I am in my walk with God and I’m learning that as His child, I need to trust Him in all things. Thank you for sharing. Many many blessings to you!

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    1. Thank you so much Anna! It is so great when we can be growing in our faith, and often through circumstances we never imagined we would be in, nor that we could grow so much in going through them. Praying for your victory in Christ and all He is doing in you!

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  4. I can tell you were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write this. I have been going through this suffering and ye, Hallelujah, He brings me through. Pruning is necessary for fruit to grow. Blessings on you. I’m sharing this we friends.

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    1. Thank you so much Karen! I believe that the Holy Spirit has so much to pour out if we would only surrender ourselves! Prayers for your victory in this season of suffering you are in. May the Lord richly bless you in your life.

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  5. The closer He draws me to Himself, the more I can thank Him for decades of trials that had to break me. I can say now that it is all worth it, my God is ALWAYS faithful. That I can see why He has healed me of some but left other things to keep me mindful I am just clay & must yield to the Potter’s hands. It is so very worth it to surrender.

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    1. This is a very difficult truth to get to in our walk with the Lord. We start off thinking He will make things easy for us, but then we learn He has far too much He wants to accomplish in us that cannot be accomplished by the easy life. We have such a loving Father, that even when we do not understand Him, we can trust in Him because of His great love.

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  6. Yet, how can we say we truly suffer when we look at how He suffered immeasurably more without cause, willingly, for us. Yes, He is God. But He was fully man, suffering. I have been so vain to think my hardships were anything. May I stay fully yielded on bended knee & count it all worth the cost…. Soli Deo Gloria. Always.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have such a deep understanding of suffering. When we focus only on ourselves, we cannot make sense of what we go through. I remember one time pouring my heart out to God on why He had me suffering as He did. And I heard these words plainly, “Consider my Son Jesus”. When we consider Christ on the Cross, it changes the focus of all we are going through.

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