As Christians, we need not be dismayed when we suffer in this life. Those who love the Lord are the enemies of the evil one and his demons. Because the real battle is unseen, we can be blind to the oppression inflicted against us. Satan often prefers that we do not know that it is him who is attacking us. He wants non-believers to be oblivious to the help and hope available to them through Jesus Christ. He wants us who believe in the Lord Jesus to see ourselves as undeserving victims of God, or as foolish and doomed martyrs in the cause of Christ. He assigns the demons to attack us in the ways that we are most vulnerable. The evil one even uses people who, with or without knowing it, are controlled and manipulated by him to hurt us. He tries to convince us that unpleasant or painful dilemmas are evidence that the Lord does not really love us and is not really good.
Especially when we do not have the answers about why we are suffering, the evil one attempts to convince us that God is punishing us. His accusations, of course, are filled with deception. He will do anything in his power to try to stop us from using every situation for the glory of God—even what appears, in human wisdom, to be failure. Satan wants us to blame ourselves or blame God for what we experience as painful because he knows that God’s plan is good for each who believes in Him through Jesus Christ. Each and every circumstance that God allows, whether we perceive it as good or bad, and as a success or a failure, has an eternal, good purpose.
If you are in a painful situation, Satan is either hoping to keep you from knowing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, or he is maneuvering to impede you as you serve God. Jesus is our only protection from the evil one and his demons. They are in fact terrified of Jesus. Jesus Christ has authority over everything in heaven and on earth. Satan does not want you to know this and remember this as you are suffering. He wants you to focus on yourself through what you think and how you feel about circumstances. He wants to distract your attention away from our Lord so you will not seek and receive the strength, power, courage, and wisdom that is in Jesus Christ and revealed by Him to us through the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes, when we suffer, we do not understand that the reason for the difficulty is to bring glory to God. We can become discouraged by struggles, and see ourselves as failures when we forget to trust the Word of God rather than how we feel, the perceptible challenges that face us, or what we are thinking. Everything God allows is to be used to further His Kingdom. We do not fail as long as we obey Him.
Our Lord is faithful. At the right time, He will reveal the specific reason that He has allowed oppression by the evil one. Perhaps God is speaking to you through these words you are reading. Maybe He is calling you to Him through Jesus Christ. Maybe He is confirming that what you are experiencing is to draw you near to Him so that you can fully know His purpose for allowing your circumstances. Listen to His whisper to your heart. God wastes nothing. He will make known to you what you are to do with your situation.
If you are suffering for the Lord, what can you do? Praise Him for the opportunity to serve Him. Be diligent in reading His Word and dwelling on it. Ask God what you are to know and to do for Him. Ask God what the evil one is trying to accomplish or prevent. We can persist, overcome, and succeed by obeying what God tells us to do with whatever we face. Suffering for the Kingdom of God is a tremendous honor from our Lord. The works to which He calls us, as the result of serving Him through difficulties, are more important than anything we could treasure in this world. Suffering for the Lord brings us closer to Him. It gives us a greater appreciation of what He has done for us. It permeates us with reverent awe of His love and provision for us. And, one day, when we see Jesus face to face, we will know that persisting with faith and through obedience, when we suffer in His will, is the epitome of success. Further, what we do for the Lord, in and through suffering, is success that lasts forevermore.
And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Romans 8:17, NLT