Patience doesn’t come naturally to the carnal mind. But even the mind renewed by the Spirit of God can find patience to be an elusive virtue – especially in the face of trials. It’s why Peter had to remind his readers that suffering patiently is pleasing to God (1 Peter 2:20). We, too, need to be reminded because trials are inevitable for those who are faithful to Christ. Christians will always encounter distinct forms of hardship.
There is the unique kind of trouble that Christians have, and that’s the trouble of persecution for the truth. We are persecuted for the sake of Christ. That is a kind of suffering that the rest of the world doesn’t have to endure. We have to endure the rejection of a hostile society who rejects the gospel.
True Christians will certainly face trials and hostility from an unbelieving world. Jesus promised as much:
John 15:18–19 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
The question isn’t will we face trials, but rather how will we respond when trials invariably come our way.
The book of James in the New Testament provides the proper eternal perspective on Christian suffering. It is a powerful reminder concerning how we should view and understand the trials we go through.
James 5:7–11 “Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”
As Christians we all need to embrace James’ counsel in order to face every hardship that this fallen world will inevitably send our way. Trials look completely different when viewed from an eternal perspective.