SUNDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2010
SUFFERING A DIVINE NECESSITY II
Today Christians suffer and still suffers.
Firstly, one may suffer as a result of Holy living. In a world suffering from moral pollution, some people feel and think that all are the same. But there are some genuine Christians living even in the present Nigeria. To moral perverts, rather than appreciate and ask God to give them the courage to live aright, resort to castigation, character assassination, unbridled gossips, intimidation, demotion, denial of rights and such other forms of devilish acts to humiliate a child of God living for God. The biblical warning is to be heeded by all: “Be holy, because I am holy” I Pet. 1V16.
There is nothing to lose sleep about, God cannot lower His standards. If presently you are facing opposition or persecution because of your holy living, do not loose hope but persevere, a time comes when you will reap your reward.
Secondly, as a child of God, you may suffer from want. A want either emanating from lack of food on your table, no money, no proper education in this sophisticated world, or not living with minimum comfort. These and more may be a present handicap. Many have fallen away and a lot more are also about to follow suit. At the time of Paul worldliness gripped some believers and Paul rightly observed: “For Demas, because he loved this world has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica…” 2 Tim 4V10 (a). If truly we believe the gospel, God can supply our needs (wants) according to His riches in Christ Jesus.
Jesus tells us: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than them?” Mtt. 6V26. Let us learn to turn over our wants to Him. No matter what it is the solution to our situation lies in the hands of God.
Thirdly, a Christian may suffer as a result of his truthfulness. The world hates the truth and prefer at any given moment to call “white’, black”. Currently, I do not know what you may be passing through but suffice it to say that truth is life. The age-long statement of Jesus is more relevant in our situation today “then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” John 8V32. Speaking the truth may have denied you promotions, a suitor, not having a house as you are nearing retirement, frequent transfers and such other forms of maltreatment that come the way of none compromisers. Today Jesus is assuring you, speak the truth and stand by the truth, at the end your truth shall set you free. Men and women who are conscious of heaven do not stain their minds by mere “Porridge”. The suffering may be temporal, on the “Day of Yahweh” when all human injustices shall be straightened out, God will remember you.
Fourthly, a Christian may suffer as a result of his trust in God. A locus classicus in the bible is that of the story of Daniel. In Daniel Chapter 6, we saw how Daniel was framed up and thrown to the Den of Lions. The accusers felt Daniel will be eaten up and he will perish with his trust in God. But God at the appropriate time proved that He was not only reliable or unchangeable but dependable. Lions ministered to Daniel. Today as you read this piece, all the evil forces blowing to condemn you, condemn your future or work will begin to minister to you in Jesus name. Daniel reminds us to always trust God no matter how tempting or trying the situation may be. You may not need to sell your body to get a promotion, or give bribe to get a job, if you trust God, He will surely make a way where there seems to be none. Daniel kept his faith, God kept His faithfulness.
There may still be other ways Christians are still suffering today, maybe in a family from your marriage, in the church because you have nobody to speak for you or even in the society, you have good credentials to serve the people but you are not in the line-up of “king makers”. I think if you do not waiver, the God of Daniel, can still be your God.
Paul in telling Timothy to endure has set the ball rolling. Whatever you are passing through, you need to remember suffering will not crush us. It will rather make us strong and to be faithful. As God’s children we need to bear with great equanimity.
Let us pray
O God help us to
endure sufferings as they come
our way, help us not to stray
from the shelter of your house,
we make this prayer through Jesus
Christ our Lord! Amen.
Ven. Barr. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,