Why me, Lord?…Rewards for Suffering:
My long life has not been spared some suffering, but compared with many, I do not feel competent to write about the subject of suffering. In fact I don’t know many Christians who have suffered as many New Testament believers did: Stephen was stoned to death, Paul and Silas were beaten and then thrown into prison for preaching God’s word, and I believe after Judas betrayed Jesus, all Jesus’ disciples were executed except John, who was exiled to the lonely Isle of Patmos.
Though Paul suffered many hardships during his ministry, instead of bemoaning his plight, he boasted about them. He said he had worked harder than others, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again, Forty times he had received from the Jews forty lashes minus one, three times was beaten with rods, once stoned, three times shipwrecked, spent a night and day in the open sea, and he had been on the move constantly. Also he had been in danger from bandits, from his own countrymen, from Gentiles, in danger in the city and in the country, in danger at sea and from false brothers. He had toiled often without sleep; he had known hunger and thirst, and often gone without food. He had been cold, naked, and in addition to everything else, he had faced daily the pressures of caring for all his churches. So if he boasted, it was to show how God worked during his weakness.
I am not sure how Paul died, but he did make it to Rome to be tried by Caesar and before his death he wrote: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge will award me that day, and not only to me, but to all who longed for His appearing.” 2 Timothy 7: 7-8
Heavenly Father, thank You for great men who have suffered for the cause of Christ. They are an inspiration and great examples to us who struggle with our limitations and suffering. Before death may we be able sincerely to pray the prayer Paul prayed. Thank You Father for Jesus and I pray in His precious Name. Amen.