COVID FIRE 1 – SUFFERING
Are we American Christians ready to embrace the truth that suffering is part of God equipping us to do well in the even more trying Day ahead, or do we have such a sense of entitlement that such a concept is offensive to us?
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3) because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4) Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4 niv
We Americans know so little about suffering. Our brothers and sisters around the world suffer daily from diseases that are easily cured here. And from hunger, malnutrition, parasites and open wounds.
And they endure painful suffering for following Christ contrary to the wishes of their family and community, including beatings, loss of work, mocking, rejection and being driven from their homes and community. Nearly 3000 Christians are killed each year for their faith and nearly 10,000 churches and other Christian building are attacked. (www.persecution.com or www.opendoorusa.org)
Covid 19 is bursting our secure little holy bubble in nearly every way including suffering physically and seeing good friends die unexpectedly. And we have suffered a lot relationally through masking and social distancing in addition to the economic impact upon many. Many persist in expecting an end to Covid in 2021 and a return to normalcy.
I suspect otherwise. I think there is a better chance that our present suffering is only the tip of the iceberg and that even more devastating disease; earth-shaking changes in life in America; and unprecedented suffering for we who follow Christ, are coming.
In this COVID FIRE series I’ll be drawing from Chap 11, Growth Through Hardship, at https://john2031.com/books/mlj/main.html
God is speaking into the Church to prepare us for what is coming. The refining fire of Covid 19 will serve us well if we humble ourselves before God and listen to Him. This is a good time to review the parable of the Sower and to discern if we are the good soil of Mt. 13:1-23. Or not.
Ken Stoltzfus, Kidron, OH FACEBOOK: Ken Stoltzfus - Kidron
Dec. 27, 2020