“Indeed, all who desire to live a goldy life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).
We’ve all asked the question, “Why do bad things happen?” We especially wonder about this when terrible things happen to good people. When persecution comes, it seems like a horrible punishment because it hurts so bad. Perhaps you’ve been persecuted for the sake of Jesus, or perhaps you wonder why God doesn’t protect those in other nations who are being murdered because of their faith. We, of course, can’t know everything because we are not sovereign. But one thing we must understand is that persecution is not punishment.
When you’re suffering for being a Christian, it’s not because of something you’ve done wrong but rather for something you’ve done right. If the world feels the need to shove you, cut you down, and despise you, it’s because you’re living in such a way that stirs the hell in them. It makes their blood boil a little to see you coming, because the life in you is contrary to the death in them. Therefore, persecution is not a punishment from God, but rather a retaliation from hell.
The amazing thing about the Spirit of God, though, is that the more persecution you face, the more He strengthens you to endure it. God knows that we can’t survive this alone. He knows that we can’t endure the suffering and weight of the world. That’s why the work of the kingdom isn’t dependent on your strength. It’s dependent on God’s strength. All the Father asks for is your obedience.
The more you obey, the more kickback you’ll receive from the world, but you’ll also find more strength in the Father. Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Jesus overcame, and by His Spirit living in us, so will we.
No one wants to be persecuted. No one wants to be hated because of what they believe, but when tribulation comes, know that you’re not being punished. God will hold us up—it’s by Him alone that we overcome and by Him alone that we find the courage to go on.