For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3:17)
“I’ve decided not to get involved in your new church plant, because every time I try to draw close to God, all hell breaks loose.”
The man sat across from us at the coffee shop, looking as if he was the sole survivor of a battle that had gone horribly wrong. We barely recognized the man; just a week prior, he had seemed so excited to get in on the ground floor of a new ministry in town focused on reaching the unchurched college set.
The man went on to explain that every time he decided to go back to church, problems arose—in his marriage, with his kids, even at his workplace.
“I’ve concluded that it’s just not worth it,” he said, staring at the floor. “I’m sorry.”
Jesus warned his followers that when someone hears God’s Word, the devil works immediately to stop its effectiveness. For some people, “when trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away” (Mark 4:17).
The apostle Peter understood this firsthand, for not only had he watched others turn away from Christ’s teachings, but he also had denied Jesus himself, likely out of fear of being persecuted (Luke 22:54–62). After being reconciled to Jesus, however, Peter learned that not all suffering is the same. Following Jesus can be hard. Not following Jesus is harder. We must choose our “hard.”
When following Jesus seems hard, remember the alternative.
Laura Hurd is an ordained minister in The Wesleyan Church and holds a master’s degree from Wesley Seminary [IN]. She pastors with her husband, Jason, in rural Nebraska.
© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.