Matthew 5:10-12 (NKJV)
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you…for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven…”
One inescapable reality facing every child of God is persecution. For as many who will live for righteousness, they will suffer some form of persecution or the other. It may not be overt persecution, but you will know that the suffering or exclusion you are going through was because of your stand for truth and righteousness. There are different ways and reasons for suffering but not all suffering has a blessing attached to them. Jesus never promised a blessing to those who suffered simply because they were Christians. The blessing is specifically for the sake of Christ and righteousness sake. Do we escape from suffering for Jesus?
It’s strange, but Jesus commands us to rejoice when we suffer and experience pain during such times of persecution because persecution has just earned us a great reward in heaven. We are not called to rejoice just for the suffering, but we are called to rejoice because of what persecution has earned us. Isn’t that amazing? It’s a great irony that we should be glad and rejoice in the midst of our pain not because God will take the pain away but because a great reward has been stored for us. The ironies of the Kingdom continues to perplex me, but this is one joy I am getting this morning; even if the pain of the persecution is not taken away, I need to rejoice still because there’s a great blessing waiting for me ahead.
“Lord, I pray for all my brethren who suffer for righteousness sake and the name of Christ. Lord, I pray that despite the immense and crushing pain some face even today, that they can somehow rejoice under the grace of God and the hope that awaits them ahead. And Lord, when I too am faced with some form of suffering for Your namesake, please, Lord, may I also rejoice in that day for the same reasons. I pray in Jesus name. Amen.”