How Do We Know God Cares?

2. Persecution – Good decisions may have tough results.

Are you suffering for doing good? Sometimes to get to where God wants us to get, we must endure hard times.

For some of us, we try so hard to avoid pain in our lives that we avoid making the right choices. We choose to reject God’s guidance because we value how we feel more than we value the future God has for us.

Genuine persecution comes when we are criticized, mocked, ridiculed, or even endangered as a result of the good choices we make. In our world, people who choose to follow Jesus face hostility, imprisonment, and even death.

As strange as it may sound, Peter says that if you are suffering for doing good then we need to rejoice which means to be grateful and even to thrive in the midst of our trying times because we are catching a glimpse of what Jesus was willing did for us.

Keep going. Persevere. Endure. Your efforts will be rewarded.

3. Circumstances – A broken world affects us.

We live in a fallen world. We are also adversely affected by the choices others make, whether those choices seem innocent or those choices are downright evil. We don’t have to look very far to see evidence of a world in disrepair. Disease, death, violence, natural disasters, injustice all point to the fact that something has gone wrong. Other times we face difficult moments as a result of the times in which we live. Challenging circumstances remind us of our frailty, and they can be what draws us closer to God rather than pull us away. We do not have to become victims to our circumstances; we can overcome!

It is so easy to say that until you experience personal trauma.

“The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” – 1 Corinthians 4:20

It is easy to trust in God when everything is going great! Very little faith is required! A deep faith is necessary to trust God when things are not going well. Shallow faith gives up.

Do you just talk about trusting God or do you actually trust Him and experience His power?

Our faith is made real in the midst of suffering.

A friend recently told me: “My faith was lip service before, but now that I have been willing to admit I am a broken person and need God’s help and need my wife’s forgiveness, my faith has become real. My faith became real when I was willing to go to places I had been avoiding all of my life.”

Often we are in the midst of the pain, so we bail. We bail on God. We give up on relationships. We give up on our dream. When in reality, we quit just before the breakthrough.

“Everything can look like failure in the middle.” Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Maybe the struggles you are currently facing are the direct results of your prayers for something better in your life? Maybe God has allowed pain to come into your life to refine you and help you become the person He created you to be.

The apostle Paul experienced a great deal of suffering for his faith. He was beaten, attacked, imprisoned, beaten with stones, and ridiculed for his faith.

Paul said: “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” – Philippians 3:10-11

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Dr. Eric Michael Bryant serves with Gateway Church in Austin as the team leader for Central and South Austin and as part of the teaching team. Eric previously served at Mosaic in Los Angeles and his books include Not Like Me: A Field Guide to a Influencing a Diverse World and A Fruitful Life: Becoming Who You Were Created To Be. Eric coaches church planters and campus pastors, teaches on Post Christian Ministry, and leads a cohort for a Doctorate of Ministry in Missional Effectiveness through Bethel Seminary where he earned his Doctorate of Ministry in Entrepreneurial Leadership.