Greetings, Reading Friends and New Subscribers! This is David Telbat with another peek into my next novel coming out soon. There’s a glimpse into Christian persecution and suffering in Distant Front, Book Two in The COIL Legacy. But as we’re told in the Bible, it’s a condition that will heighten in our world in these last days. There will be suffering and terrors that we have not yet imagined, nor should we be too shocked when they occur to us personally—if we are committed to Jesus Christ. But the question is: how should we view our suffering?
How do I View Suffering?
While writing Distant Front’s most unsettling circumstances of Christian persecution around the world (based upon actual reports), I was moved to deeper study on the matter. I’m not foreign to physical hardships, or even to a little persecution in ministry—but how do I view suffering for Christ? How should any of us view the suffering we may endure in this world, particularly in these last days?
I was drawn to the Bible to better answer these questions about suffering in our lives. In many of my books, I’ve shared numerous responses to suffering by faithful Christians. Surely, the method is to trust God through the suffering. But is there sense in this suffering, if God is good and powerful, loving and sovereign? Does the suffering really make any sense?
The Often-missed Answer in Job
Although God’s response to us to make sense of why He allows suffering in our lives—or in anyone else’s life—is all over the Bible, I found a passage in Job that not many refer to when teaching lessons on Job’s time of suffering. Often, we’re told of Job that, “God has His ways,” and, “We are not to question God’s reasons.” Some even think that God answered Job in this way. But actually, in Job 38, God really does answer Job’s question about why he’s suffering—exactly as it pertains to Job. Sure, God had an agenda to use Job’s faith against Satan’s intent to discredit God—but Job was meant to profit from the experience, too! As are we.
God told Job that the design of limits in our world is meant to generate hunger and faith for Him. When we see the contrasts of good and evil, of thirst and quenched thirst, of singing and silence—only then will we yearn for Him properly.
Hunger itself is meant to be nourished by what God provides. It’s how we are designed by Him. It’s everywhere in creation. Why does the young of a raven cry for food? So we can witness that God is the One who nourishes. Suffering, in its basic element, is meant to generate an appetite for us to be filled up by God when He helps us. To be satisfied with nourishment, we must first know hunger. To be helped, we must first know our need. To know the comfort and value of an embrace, we must be allowed to know sorrow.
Is God Cruel?
When so much evil seems to be winning in our world, this is the real question: is God cruel? If there is a God, why isn’t He doing something? Does He want these evils to happen? Of course not. God is not cruel. Sin and Satan are cruel. We can be thankful that God is sovereign and omnipotent to turn the tide of cruel things of this world into results for us that drive us back into His arms.
God’s answer to suffering isn’t trite, even though we sometimes don’t like His answer—that He doesn’t cause evil, but He’ll certainly use it to mold us for Himself. This isn’t only the truth, it’s also our experience as Christians. It’s during the valleys that we cry the loudest for Him.
Similarly, God takes no joy in our suffering, but He certainly sees the end result and assures us: “Trust Me, loved one, through this trial. I see the end, and it will be worth it.” The heaviest hearts know best the hand of God, when our eyes finally look up. He has not left us alone.
Many great books have been written in consideration of this expansive topic, but I hope you are encouraged today by my simple words in this post, “Suffering in Distant Front.” God comforts me in my own sufferings, and that’s how and why I can confidently write about His hand through it all in Distant Front. I pray you will be blessed by this new endeavor to be out in the next few weeks. I would really like to hear your thoughts after you read it.
See you on your knees!
Two resources to help us understand Christian Persecution and Suffering:
2. The Back to Jerusalem 30-day Prayer Challenge & Devotional Podcast is a spiritual boot camp that will refocus our lives to think less about ourselves and more about the lost that has never heard the name of Jesus Christ. You will hear testimonies from the Underground Church in China. Visit the following link and scroll to the bottom of page to Podcast Episode 101: Day 1 – BTJ 30 Day Devotional. [Note: BTJ is a ministry of the Underground Church of China.]
NOTE: Nov 14 is Int’l Day of the Bible! Let’s read and meditate on God’s Word today and every day!
Prayer Prompt: Pray for the suffering Iraqis caught in ISIS terror and persecution. Visit RUN Ministries, which provides rescue and relief efforts in northern Iraq. (Thanks, Ann, for sharing this ministry with us.)
COMING UP: Join us next time for a new short story by David Telbat, “Old Comrades.” Then see our Black Friday-Cyber Monday promotion for Distant Front! And in our following post, David has “A Tribute to Nee.”