Americans are usually concerned about their rights above everything else. Americans do enjoy the rights we have under the Constitution, but the day may come when we no longer have the right to proclaim the Gospel. If that day comes, Americans will need to have a biblical response to persecution. Philippians 1:28-29 tells believers not to be terrified by people who are out to persecute them; instead, believers need to recognize that when suffering comes it has been given as a gift to us by the Lord.
28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. 29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
How can believers possibly look at suffering as a gift? In his book The Book of Signs, 31 undeniable prophecies of the Apocalypse, David Jeremiah lists 5 ways suffering is a gift.
- Suffering Promotes Character
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
- Suffering Promotes Courage
But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
- Suffering Promotes Godliness
II Timothy 3:12
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
- Suffering Promotes Joy
And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. 23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: 24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. 25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
- Suffering Produces Rewards
By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.