THIS THING CALLED SUFFERING
Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:3
Richard Wurmbrand was a bold and faithful pastor in Romania during the communist regime. He spent years in prison for the crime of preaching of God’s only Son and man’s only Savior. In prison, he suffered unspeakable tortures, beatings, cruelties, and deprivations as his captors tried to get him to abandon his Christianity and divulge information concerning the underground church.
No matter how brutal the guards and interrogators were to him, Richard never lost sight of the cross and the love God had for him, his fellow inmates, and the communist torturers. He suffered immense hardship as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. He led numerous men to the Lord during his fourteen years in prison, and he inspired and continues to inspire millions through his preaching and writing.
As I read his autobiography, Tortured for Christ, I was horrified by the unfathomable atrocities continually inflicted upon him, and I was convicted by his unwavering faithfulness to the Lord. How would I respond if I were to be imprisoned and beaten for my faith? Would I be a good soldier? Would I stay true to the One who died for me in agony and blood? Would you?
A COMMON THEME
The more I read about those who have been tortured for Christ, the more I see a common theme: “the fellowship of His sufferings.” Amid such horrific and barbaric conditions, the manifest presence of the Lord Jesus was and is profound. Darlene Diebler was brutally tortured for Christ in a Japanese prison camp during World War II. As she recounted her experiences, she told her audience something along these lines, “Although those were terrible times, they were also the sweetest times in my life—because Jesus was so real to me.”
The Lord promises in His word, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:2-3).
ARE YOU SUFFERING HARDSHIP TODAY?
Hardship comes to every life, from one degree or another. If we respond to hardship poorly, we will become bitter and miss out on “the fellowship of His sufferings.” But if we respond by faith as good soldiers of Christ Jesus, the Lord will use the hardship to burn away the dross of sin in our lives and make us the pure and powerful witnesses He wants us to be.
Let me encourage you to keep praising Him, no matter what. Keep seeking Him and trusting Him. He has not forgotten you. He knows what is going on, and He is over it all. He wants to use you in the midst of hardship and suffering, just as he used Richard Wurmbrand and Darlene Diebler. One day, the trials of this life will be over. Until then, press on in Jesus’ name. As the wise sage once said, “We have all eternity to rejoice in our victories (His victories through us), but only a short time on earth to win them.”
Pastor Jeff Schreve,
From His Heart Ministries
Dr. Jeff Schreve believes that no matter how badly you may have messed up in life, God still loves you and has a wonderful plan just for you. From His Heart provides real truth, love and hope on over 700 radio stations each day, in 182 countries each week on TV, and is always available online. Pastor Jeff takes no income from this ministry. All donations go to furthering the broadcast outreach. As a listener/viewer supported ministry, we thank you for joining with us to help speak the truth in love to a lost and hurting world. Go to www.fromhisheart.org for more information.
How can you have an amazing family and raise your children in the fear and admonition of the Lord? In this series, Pastor Jeff Schreve shares practical and timely messages on how to navigate the obstacles we face as parents, spouses and children in this age of technology and ever-changing secular culture. God’s design for family is under attack and it is time for Christians to stand up and fight for their family!