When Suffering is a Privilege

My nearly 13 year old daughter came in to do her morning kitchen chore and began telling me how she used to want to live to be really old {“like, over 100”}, but she changed her mind.

“Oh?”  I asked.  Why?

Turns out she thinks if she lives long, she might live right into the tribulation.  At her tender age, she doesn’t want to have to think about that.

One of her older sisters had quietly come into the kitchen during our conversation.  Suddenly she piped in.  “But Ella, suffering for Christ is an honor.  It’s an opportunity to show Him how much you truly love Him.  Only certain people will have that privilege.” 

To say that I was shocked would be an understatement.  To be the honest, this wisdom came from the child I’ve probably prayed the most for in this area.  She has low pain tolerance.  She has fought anxiety.  Her maturity has sneaked in slowly.

Because of our study in Thessalonians, and Paul’s explanation of end times, this topic has been on my mind.  I grew up in a denomination that didn’t talk about it.  They feel the unpleasantries describing the anti-Christ and the suffering of end times happened in Israel’s history.  I grew up being told Christ could appear any second, and that would be the end.

I don’t think so.

I can give you the definition of the terms “Pre-trib, Mid-trib, and Post-trib,” but concerning when Christ will take His beloved Church home, I’m not sure the Bible gives us a clear time line.  In the grand scheme, my opinion doesn’t really matter.

What I know. that I know. that I know is that He is returning.  Scripture tells me what to look for so I won’t be deceived, and Christ expects me to be faithful.  This is what we teach our children.  This is what they know.

But when the righteous suffer alongside the unrighteous, which history recounts over and over, my daughter is right: It is a privilege to suffer for Christ.

camp cross in northern lights

How would we live differently if we truly believe that?

Would we be more bold?

More intentional?

More relentless?

Would we take hardships more in stride?

Be More thankful?

More content?

Worry less?

Would we count it all joy?

 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything… Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”  James 1:2,3, and 12

 

Cross and Northern Lights Photograph credit goes to Open the Door Photography, owned by Chris Griffith who is the Discipleship Director at Camp JIM.  We have an outdoor amphitheater with fire pit and this cross by the lake.  Every Thursday night campers get to dress up for a banquet style meal and afterward they gather at the lake for a camp fire, praise and worship, and a time for testimonies.

The Northern Lights show up every year and Chris does a beautiful job of photographing this wonder God gives us to enjoy. ♥  You can see more of his photography by visiting his Facebook page.  Many are printed on canvas for purchase.

 

 

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