Ephesians 3:13 “I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are for your glory.”
Okay, Paul. I gotta be honest. This is one of the craziest things you have written, so far! Seriously, in my book, suffering equals discouragement. Suffering does not equal glory. Paul, Paul, Paul . . . what are you talking about?
Of course we are going to be discouraged when we see someone who has given his life to serve the Lord, only to be met with persecution and imprisonment. Of course we are going to be discouraged when the person who persuaded us to follow Christ is now facing a possible death sentence for his beliefs. And you’re telling us it is for our glory?
Well, it certainly doesn’t feel very glorious.
But then again, maybe you’re not saying that we should smile and enjoy the awful things that happen to us. Maybe, instead, you’re reminding us that our current circumstances will only play a small part in the bigger picture – a picture that God is bringing to completion.
After all, it is because of all the persecution that Christians have faced over the centuries, that so many have come to Christ. After all, if something is that important, that so many people have been willing to face persecution and imprisonment and even death, it must be the real deal. Maybe you weren’t saying that suffering feels glorious. You were saying that, when we face suffering with God on our side, it is glorious, in the bigger picture.
We don’t need to feel discouraged, no matter our circumstances. God is in control, and He is working things out for our good and for His glory.
Thanks, Paul, for the reminder.
James 1:2 – 3 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Dear Father, Thank You that even when my circumstances are bad, You are good. I know I can always trust You to work things out for my good.