Don’t be surprised when things get tough
Being a Christian will have difficult moments, but God is with you through them all.
Article by Steve Kryger for ONWARD.
Last year I travelled to the Middle East to visit persecuted Christians in Iraq. This is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a Christian - a place where thousands of Christians have been killed by ISIS, and where many more have lost nearly everything because they refuse to deny Jesus.
Two weeks before I left I attended a briefing with the other people who were coming on the trip. There are many risks travelling to a country like this - roadside bombings, kidnappings, surface-to-air missiles - and everything in between. Before this briefing, I was nervous but excited. After the briefing I was nervous, scared and a lot more prayerful!
The briefing gave me a very clear idea about what could happen in the journey ahead and if things got difficult it woudn’t com as a surprise.
Are you ready for your journey?
Let me ask you an important question:
What do you expect in your journey ahead as a follower of Jesus?
- Do you expect it to be easy or challenging?
- Do you expect that people will love you or hate you?
- Do you expect that you shouldn’t lose anything ... or that you could lose everything?
When we start our journey following Jesus, we don’t attend a pre-trip briefing. But God does want us to be prepared and not surprised. This is why Jesus warns us that following him won’t always be easy. In fact Jesus says:
“Everyone will hate you because of me.” —Luke 21:17
And this is why the Apostle John tells us we shouldn’t be surprised:
“Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.” —1 John 3:13
There will be bumps on the way ... but don't give up!
When you’re on a plane and turbuelence hits, if you’re anything like me you start freaking out and thinking the worst (I hope you’re nothing like me!).
But if the pilot makes an announcement in advance and says “We’re expecting some turbulence for the next 10 minutes - please buckle your seatbelts until it clears up” - you are prepared for the discomfort and know that the pilot is in control.
The Lord Jesus is our pilot, and because He loves us He wants us to know that there will be bumps ahead in following Him. People will exclude you. People will say false things about you. People will laugh at you. People will even hate you.
You should expect this. You shouldn’t be surprised.
But you should also expect the turblence to last only a short time! Soon you will see Jesus, and you will be overjoyed. Read these comforting words from 1 Peter 4:12-13:
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”
Do you want to find more strength for the journey ahead?
ONWARD is an event in Sydney, Australia to help you stand firm in your faith and share it with others. It’s run by Katoomba Christian Convention for high schoolers, and will take place at Sydney Olympic Park on 23 June. Get your tickets and find out more at the ONWARD website.