May 31, 2022
Close up of a meadow of flowers with forested hills and rigid mountains in the background.
It gives us a nice, warm feeling to sing about the promises of God.
Some of us have put God’s promises on plaques above our fireplace, or stitched them into a needlepoint for the hallway.
Such snug, comforting promises, such as…
“I have come that [you] might have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
…”The living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.” 1 Timothy 6:17, NKJV
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find….” Matthew 7:7
“Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:24, NKJV
We gladly claim those promises as believers. We memorize them, meditate on them, and personalize them. And rightly so. God intends us to enter into his promises.
But there’s a catch. You can’t pick and choose. God means for us to embrace all his promises—not just some of them. And not all is promises are snug and comfortable.
Some of God’s assurances are more easily ignored, aren’t they? Especially the ones having to do with pain and hardship.
You don’t see those promises hanging over fireplaces, or stitched in needlepoint, or penned in the back of Bibles. We have a way of sidestepping them.
Yet if there’s one thing the New Testament promises the people of God, it is suffering and tribulation, trials and chastening and persecution. All of these things are promised to true disciples.
“Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” 2 Timothy 3:12
“No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” John 15:20
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:2-3
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Matthew 5:11
“We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22
“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you and example to follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21
No, we’d rather not “name ‘n claim” those promises. You won’t find them gracing many living room walls or magnetized to refrigerator doors.
Frankly, we’d rather circumvent the suffering. We make every effort to weed out all the discomfort in our lives. We consider trials and disciplines to be rude interruptions in our plans for an easy, comfortable life.
We demand miracles of healing and are willing to believe all sorts of wild irrationalities in order to get what we want. We seek to escape the promise of hardship, rather than to allow our Lord to work out his will in our lives through the experience.
I can recall a time when I used to think those promises were more like threats.
Oh sure, the Bible promises a lot of hardship. Well, with friends like that, who needs enemies?
If I break my neck at the age of seventeen, what in the world is going to happen to me when I reach twenty or thirty?
If this is the way God is going to start out discipling me, then I might as well forget it!
I just expected that my life should be easy—as though that were some kind of inalienable right as a human being. Life was supposed to be comfortable, with distress and trouble mere exceptions to the rule.
Yet I really wanted to be a disciple! I really wanted to follow Christ
Do you see yourself in that contradiction? If we want to know Christ, a casual glance at the New Testament will tell us that God’s Son was made perfect by suffering (Hebrews 2:10).
And if the Christ of glory came to his glory only through suffering, how shall we know his glory any other way? If we want to know him, and if we want to be made like him, we can expect a few bumps and bruises along the way.
And that’s a promise!
“If we are his children then we are God’s heirs, and all that Christ inherits will belong to all of us as well! Yes, if we share in his sufferings we shall certainly share in his glory.
Romans 8:17, Phillips
Please pray with me: Lord Jesus, the early disciples counted it a great honor to suffer abuse and shame for your sake.
Even as I lean hard on your promises to save me, keep me, supply for me, and take care of me, Lord, help me to remember that you have NOT promised me freedom from pain, heartache, and loss along the way.
May my devotion prove true to you both in the times of testing and the times of ease. In your sustaining name, Amen.
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Important prayer tips to Note to begin any prayer
- DAILY MANNA
- NEWS FEED
- PARTNER PROGRAM
- PRAYER GUIDE
- PRAYER SECTION
- PROPHETIC DECLARATION OF THE MONTH
- THE VESSEL PRAYER FORUM