The only instances we see in scripture where suffering is ever “according to the will of God” is those situations where believers suffer persecution or death for preaching or living for the gospel. Standing up for and declaring the message of Jesus and His Kingdom with a demonstration of power is the only legitimate reason the bible gives for suffering.
2 Timothy 1:8 – “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God…”
2 Timothy 2:8-9 – “Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel,9 for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains;”
Bob Dylan, one of the foremost songwriter/poets of a generation, penned the words to this song:
You may be an ambassador to England or France,
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance,
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world,
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord,
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.
After Elijah was run out of town in fear of Jezebel, he poured out a lament to the Lord, painting himself as “the only real believer left”. The Lord kindly came to him in a gentle whisper and decided He wouldn’t place any more on him, then delegated his task to others. But in doing so, He wanted Elijah to know there were still thousands “in the game.”
I King 19:18-“Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
The implication of the Lord is clear-many of God’s best and most devoted weren’t known or in the “limelight”. God had 7000 in Israel.
Pastor Marc Lawson
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