This is going to be a very short article. That’s because there are going to be a whole lot of Bible passages for you to read. (Hopefully this will inspire you to do the same with other topics.) When we study what God actually says on a particular biblical topic, it opens our eyes to the greater truths in His Word.
I have frequently been asked the question, “Where in the Bible does it say that we are supposed to be door mats?” My answer is “all the way through, if you’ve read it correctly.” So, in this article, we want to see what God says about suffering.
Let’s start by reading the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:1-23 (yes, I mean open up your Bible and read the whole parable again, don’t just go by memory,) and then I’ll ask three questions that I hope will bring the other verses into perspective.
Assuming you have now read the Parable of the Sower, here’s the first question: Was the sun the problem?
Obviously the answer is no because, as far as I remember from what I learned of plant biology in school, plants need sunlight to grow.
So, second question: If the sunlight wasn’t the problem, what was?
In verse 6 Jesus says, “they were scorched; and because they had no root.”
Here’s the third question: In the explanation, what did Jesus compare the sun to?
In Matthew 13:21 Jesus explains, “but since he doesn’t have any root in himself, he lasts for only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes along because of the word, he immediately falls away.” The problem was not the trouble or persecution, it was the fact that this person did not have enough depth of faith to endure the problems.
I found it helpful to do a word study on “suffer” and “persecute”. Here are some of the verses that come up.
If we do this correctly we should reach the conclusion that God uses the process of suffering and persecution to refine us by making us more reliant on Him. When we do that, He shines through us brighter and consequently those who do not know Him are drawn to Him.
If we do this correctly then at the end of this study we should find ourselves on our knees almost demanding the persecution that is promised to us knowing that, through that suffering, more people will come to know the Saviour.