Came across the following article in which the author talks about some of the benefits of persecution and trials. We will all face a certain level of persecution in our lifetime. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of years, you have seen a tremendous amount of persecution unfold in the world of social media. Think about how many people were persecuted because of their stance on Covid and the vaccine. I am convinced some would actually resort to physical violence on another based on their views of Covid.
I could give you a number of Bible verses in which God talks about persecution. He told His followers that they would suffer persecution.
In John 15:18, Jesus tells us, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.”
Matthew 5:11 says, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.”
I could go on and on with verses that talk about how Christian’s will be persecuted for believing in Christ, how to survive persecution, and so on. But I won’t. What I do want to focus on is one of the benefits of trials, tribulation, and persecution.
We can look throughout the history of the Christian Church and see that it thrives most when persecuted. I think the same can be said about the individual Christian as well.
Trials in life bring out the best in us. I found an article that hit the nail on the head. In their article God the Good Gardener, the author talks about how God prunes His children. Much like a gardener prunes their plants, God prunes us. Pruning isn’t to damage us or hurt us, but rather to create room for growth; to get rid of areas that prevent us to grow more into His image.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”John 15:1-4
I read this verse and I think about persecution and tribulation in my life. It makes me think about farmers and how they will burn their fields off at the end of the year. During a recent trip to Oregon, my father-in-law and I were out on a photography expedition; driving through the countryside and photographing old barns and nature. During our drive I was amazed at the amount of fields that were being burned off. No matter which direction you looked, there was a field burning in the distance. I asked myself why and it immediately turned into a lesson on what God does to us.
Like the farmer burning their fields, God allows tribulation to come into our lives in order to burn up what’s dead, left behind on the ground, and would hinder growth in the next season. Like the farmer, He is looking ahead at the next season of our lives and planning. Sometimes there are some things that need to be burned up or pruned off.
Have you ever driven past a forest that suffered from a wildfire a year or two prior? What did you see? Green grass, new growth, and life! You saw nature returning to the beauty that it was before it was devoured by fire.
The same is true about each of us when it comes to affliction, trials, and persecution in life. It’s not very pleasant as it is happening and we are walking through it, but if we could just look into the next season and see what growth lies ahead.
What you’re going through today and in this particular season might hurt a bit. You may think it will break you or that God has utterly turned His back on you. There may not seem as if there’s really a purpose in what you’re going through. Oh friend, but there is. You’re being prepared for the next season, and what you have right now needs to be devoured so that you can grow.