The idea of suffering as part of the Christian faith is not that popular. In fact as a new Christian when I found out that martyrdom was a ‘spiritual gift’ that some Christians were ‘blessed’ to have in one of those ‘find your gifting courses’ I was incredibly reassured by a line that said that veryt few people in Gods family were ‘blessed’ with this gift. All joking aside, Modern day Western Christianity often has a hard time fitting suffering into its theology. Due to the incredible uprise of the Prosperity gospel it is seen as necessary for one to have ‘health, wealth and success’ in order for one to be a successful Christian.

Jesus clearly taught that his followers would endure suffering most obviously his sacrifice but also read through the sermon on the mount, this was part of his call of being an obedient follower of Christ (Matthew 5)

I wonder if Western Christians are a bit like the reciepients of the book of Hebrews.

Some of the things the reciepients of the Hebrews had were a great liking for the Old testament ( a bit like prosperity followers) and also some deep seated conscience issues to follow the ‘right way’ even though had a very skewed idea on what this was (even though it was well supported with some out of context bible verses) .

They had lost how suffering fitted into Faith and got side tracked into a whole lot of frivalous stuff (some of it with the best of intentions) that they thought would take them closer to God.

This led the author of the book to say this to them and I think they are very good words to ponder:

Hebrews 10
32Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. 33Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.
35So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay. 38But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him 39But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.

I wonder when was the last time you ever heard a sermon on suffering / read an article on it?

Have we disconnected suffering from our contemporary theology or do we only speak about it on special occasions? If suffering is a daily occasion for the persecuted church, how come we hear very little of it in the western church?

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