Think About This: “The yoke of affliction, disappointment, and excessive labor is by no means to be sought for; but when the Lord lays it on us in our youth, it frequently develops a character that glorifies God and blesses the Church.” – C. H. Spurgeon
The Strength In Suffering
Posted on September 15, 2021 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters
“It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth.”
Lamentations 3:27 (NKJV)
Spurgeon once wrote, “The yoke of censure is an irksome one, but it prepares a man for future honor.” WHA!? I don’t know about you, but when I look at the guy who wrote that I can’t help to think, “This dude has a pulpit by the time he’s 19, when did he ever bear the “yoke of censure”? But that’s probably coming from a place of jealousy, after all, Spurgeon surrendered his life to Christ when he was 15, I don’t even get there until I’m 40. Maybe I should look at John 21:22 (“If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”) a little deeper than I do. Anyway…
There was a lot of stuff I did, way back then, that definitely was disapproving (come to think of it, there’s things that I do today that get “censured”) and I had put it in the “What does not kill you only serves to make you stronger” file. Well, I’m not too sure how much stronger I ever got from living so outside of the will of God but I can tell you that it definitely made it not worth it to go back to. And if you’re like me, you would’ve thunk that since you’ve wisened up enough, you ain’t gotta go through that kinda suffering again, ever. Ha-Ha.
“If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us.” (2 Timothy 2:12)
However, there is a suffering that comes with being Christian. Now some folks today think living under a different political parties’ regime is suffering enough but that’s just the consequences of elections making them feel that way. I’ll agree, we ain’t gotta like it but it really isn’t suffering…yet. The kinda suffering we need to get our heads around is the kind that will strengthen our faith in a Risen Savior. The kind that comes with the promised reward that we will reign with Him. The kind that says we cannot and will not deny Him because He does not deny us.
I think the best illustration of this can be found in Luke 16:19-31, the Rich Man and Lazarus. Right from the start we read that the Rich Man knew nothing of suffering. He’s in purple and fine linen but Lazarus, well he’s covered in sores and hungry. We’re not given an indication on where either stood on when it came to faith in God right away, both men will die but pretty soon it becomes apparent where each did stand and that suffering ain’t for Lazarus, “Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.” (Luke 16:24)
Now, I’ve made comments in the past on how the Rich Man seemed to view Lazarus. I mean, “go get your own water and cool your own tongue” but it really isn’t like this. Abraham will have to break the bad news to him that, even in death, he ain’t seeing things the way they are. “But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.” (Luke 16:25-26)
The Rich Man didn’t seem to have a right view of things, that part is true, but the thing here is his view wasn’t up into the heavenlies and it gave him no strength in his time of suffering. However, when it came to Lazarus, it becomes clear that his view was towards his God, he had strength to endure his hardships and therefore he was taken up by angels and comforted. Ya see, if there’s a suffering that comes from a fellowship with Jesus Christ, then it ain’t mattering whether you’re rich or poor, educated or not, a foreman or a drone you’re comfort to endure will always come from above.
In the days of my youth there were many who came to me and told me of Jesus but it went in one ear and out the other. So, the yoke of disapproval was an irritating one for me to bear but because of Jesus, and the yoke He provides, a lot of things are easier to suffer through, even if means undue hardship or physical pain. So to end this in the words of Charles Haddon, “We must not imagine that we are suffering for Christ, and with Christ, if we are not in Christ.” Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a husband, a father, has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. -1 John 4:9