“Then Peter spoke up, ‘We have left everything to follow you!’ ‘Truly I tell you,’ Jesus replied, ‘no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.’”
– Mark 10:28-30
As always, I love Peter’s honesty. In response to Jesus’ remarks about the rich young man and the difficulty the wealthy encounter entering the Kingdom of God, he somewhat fearfully blurted out that he and the other eleven gave up everything they had to follow Him. What would be in it for them now? Obviously concerned about their choice, the Lord knew that his friends needed clarification, so He offered them a promise. He assured them that everything they had given up, whether an estate, family, or friends, would be restored to them in even greater measure. Though some may read this as a guarantee that they would end up with more worldly wealth, I believe the Lord is promising them spiritual blessings that far surpass the worth of what they surrendered when they answered His call. But what about persecution? Why, if Jesus was trying to comfort His followers, did He guarantee them this kind of trouble? To answer this question, it’s important to remember that in the context of the original language, persecution was actually a form of grace. In other words, it was an honor and a privilege to suffer for Jesus. Although in the world’s eyes it looked like sheer pain, to the believer, it was and is part of abundant life.
My friend, as strange as it sounds, you can take joy in surrendering what you most treasure and embracing persecution for the sake of Jesus. Unpleasant as it is to endure, your loving Savior always redeems the pain you suffer for His Name. Within every trial, loss, betrayal or tragedy is a hidden treasure just waiting to be unearthed. God is completely good 100% of the time and that means nothing you endure will be fruitless or leave you broken beyond repair. In fact, you will always emerge from the fire stronger and wiser than before and better equipped to share with others the living Hope that anchors your soul!
Jesus, give me faith to embrace your grace in the midst of pain and your eyes to see the treasure hidden in it.
Have you ever been persecuted for your faith? How did it bless you?