Persecution & Suffering: 37

Hebrews 11:32-38 says, “And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.  Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection.  Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.  They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.”

Hebrews 11 is called the “hall of faith.” It is interesting that in this list of heroes of the faith, the common factor is not whether their story had a happy ending on earth or not. The common factor is that they all experienced severe trials. In some cases, as in the verses up to women receiving back their dead by resurrection, God miraculously delivered them for His glory. In the verses after that, for some reason, He chose not to deliver them, also for His glory.

You see, God’s great power is demonstrated in the cases where He provided miraculous relief. His worthiness, however, is demonstrated in the cases where people were ready and willing to pay any price for His sake, and they do so. His true greatness is what explains their willing sacrifice.

One of the best ways, then, to show forth God’s glory is for us to face extreme trials. He is glorified through that either way, as long as we remain faithful in the suffering. The other wonderful news is that we then receive eternal reward and joy in His presence. It is truly a “can’t lose” scenario.