“He is worthy, worthy of all praise,” we often sing in a newer song. Many of us greatly appreciate the song “How Great Thou Art.” We love the powerful message of “It is Well with My Soul.” Is God worthy, is He great, is it well with us even when we don’t see Him through all the pain? When we have been faithful, but life has been dreadful–do we ask “where is God?” Has He forsaken you? Is He still worthy of your praise and your life? When we struggle with this, could it be that our relationship with God is from a selfish motive? In other words, would you serve God even if the blessings on this earth were few? Have you considered the fact that there is a “selfish view” of Christianity? The Lord called only those who would, “come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25). Notice the necessity to deny self and lose life, all for the benefit of Jesus’ sake. Are you willing to unselfishly suffer?
Suffering is a part of Christianity. We can’t manifest the life of Jesus unless we are willing to carry the death of Jesus (Second Corinthians 4:10-11). We can’t boast of the blessings until we are ready to faithfully suffer in the tribulation.
Suffering identifies us with Christ. Jesus taught His disciples that the hatred and persecution which He received would also be experienced by them (John 15:18-20). Perhaps this is one reason why the very moment we are added to Jesus is described as, “baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death” (Romans 6:3). If we are going to join in life with Him, we must be willing to join Him in suffering until death.
Suffering is appointed to Christians, therefore we shouldn’t be surprised or feel forsaken. Paul would “encourage you concerning your faith, that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know” (excerpt of First Thessalonians 3:2-4). Consider the example of the church at Smyrna ( Revelation 2:8). They experienced tribulation and poverty because of their faith in Christ. In other words, not only were they persecuted physically, but also financially. God urges them to remain faithful because the suffering will continue even until death! The motive for their continuation in Christianity wasn’t for blessings they would receive on earth; it was solely in order to receive a “crown of life.” The Lord’s cause is always greater than the individual. Eternity is always greater than this temporal earth. Faith must be our conviction, instead of sight. God’s presence isn’t always felt, but He is near. He has never played the role of Santa Claus or a fairy to make us comfortable or fulfill our wishes. But one moment in eternity and we will be able to look back to see how He worked in us and perhaps say with Job, ” Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know” ( Job 42:3b). Until then we can certainly know this, “He is Worthy!”