Catalogue of Suffering (Part 1)
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?Romans 8:35 (NIV)
This marvelous chapter, which sets out the spectacular glory of God’s rescue in Jesus Christ, ends with a catalogue of suffering. As we walk through the first four things on Paul’s list of suffering, ask yourself this question: Will I experience this form of suffering in my life? The answer will be “Yes” or “Maybe.”
- Trouble. Q: Will you experience trouble? A: Yes. Our Lord says: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
- Hardship. Q: Will you experience hardship? A: Yes. “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?” (Heb. 12:7). Don’t read hardship as God failing to love you. It’s the opposite. God will not allow you to slide into a wasted life of self-indulgence, so he breaks up the party, and he brings hardship into your life because he loves you. This is how you become a son or daughter who reflects his glory.
- Persecution. Q: Will you experience persecution? A: Yes. Paul says “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). If you live a godly life, don’t expect to be thanked, expect to be disliked and marginalized.
- Famine. Q: Will you experience famine? A: Maybe. God has provided more than enough food for the world. But he’s given more to some than to others. Are there any hungry people in Chicago? Could it be that one day you’ll be hungry?
Do you think the love of God will insulate you from the sufferings of this world?