Do not be mistaken! The Christian life is one of suffering. We do not belong here. This is our Hell, but our Heaven is on the way. This life is the worst it will get for those of us who are believers. This life is as good as it gets for the one who does not follow Christ. I remind myself of this constantly. Our suffering can reveal God to others. We can be the vessel the Lord uses for others to see who God is. Our brothers and sisters who are wrongly persecuted around the world understand this verse much better than we North Americans do. Church father Tertullian said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” Through persecution the Kingdom of God expands. People can see who God is. Persecutors bow to God because of the faith of the martyrs.
We can take heart because God has this unexplainable manner in which He sustains us. God can even give us joy in times of suffering! Are you suffering? Ask for God’s power to not to be crushed; ask God to sustain you through despair. God has a way of producing great moments out of the ironies in our lives. There’s irony all over the Bible! Jesus was born in a barn. The King of the universe wasn’t treated like the lowest of society. Jesus walked here on this earth, and because He did, He wants to empower us to make it all the way through whatever we may be facing. The only way I know how to make it through is to hand it all over to God. He takes our clay and makes beauty through our sufferings. Our job is to trust God in whatever situation we find ourselves in.
Punch a slab of clay and it’s ok. cut it with a knife and it’s still clay. Eventually clay turns into something useful, something beautiful, even masterpieces! James tells us, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2-3