You Will Suffer
“Now I am on my way to Jerusalem, bound in my spirit, not knowing what I will encounter there, except that in town after town the Holy Spirit testifies to me that chains and afflictions are waiting for me. But I count my life of no value to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace.” –Acts 20:22-24
I remember starting practice for fall sports after a lazy summer. Practice often included two-a-days—working in the morning and afternoon to get in shape for the season. If we didn’t stay in shape during the summer, we were going to suffer.
Suffering, pain, and hardships are not things we look forward to. How often do we pray for anything on that list—or thank God for such difficulties? We avoid them! We would rather experience God’s blessings, favor, and success. Yet Paul not only experienced persecution on a regular basis, the Holy Spirit led him into it.
This passage doesn’t fit our usual image of God—led by the Holy Spirit into hardships? facing prison? What about making me lie down in green pastures or leading me beside quiet waters?
The next time we suffer through a grueling training session, we should remember Paul. God led him into situational suffering to produce everlasting fruit for His kingdom. Are we up for the challenge? Are we willing to go where God leads to testify about His Grace—even if it means hard times?
1. Have you ever obeyed God and suffered for it?
2. Does this idea that God leads us into hardships stretch your picture of God?
2 Timothy 1:8-10; 2:3-5
Father, I want to be ready and willing to go wherever You lead, even if it includes suffering. Please help me to be faithful and obedient to Your will. Amen.