Our faith and obedience in the midst of suffering matters—a lot! It matters not just in regards to our own relationship with God, but because both unbelievers and fellow saints look on. When we respond in faith, as Mike did, we shine the light of the Gospel brightly. When we endure well in God’s grace, our example strengthens God’s people to do the same.
When someone passes into eternity it causes reflection. As people reflect on the life now departed, they are reminded about how that person influenced their lives. Often comforting surprises come to light as people begin to share their memories. When my father-in-law passed away recently, we were greatly blessed to hear of many stories of his impact for Christ in people’s lives.
Most knew my father-in-law as “Mike.” He was well-known for a life of strong faith in Jesus Christ along with much physical suffering and challenges. His testimony encouraged many. Mike served as a pastor in several churches, the last one for over thirty years in southeast Georgia. He served in the out-of-the-way places of little reputation in the wider world scene, but God used him. His faithfulness amidst severe trials served as a continual tool for both evangelism and encouragement of other believers, some who never even met him but just heard his story.
Their Deeds Follow Them
Revelation 14:12-13 speaks of many believers in Christ Jesus who remain faithful to Him in death and suffering during the horrors of the Tribulation. The apostle John says, “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.”
John then quotes a voice from heaven in his vision saying, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” This is followed by a direct quote of the Holy Spirit’s response to these words: “Blessed indeed, that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”
God rewards, even honors, His people who endure hard things for His name’s sake and continue to serve Him faithfully in the midst of great trial and difficulty. Faithfulness to Christ in such times leads to fruitful testimony and ministry to others in life, ongoing blessing to others in their memories, and eternal reward from God. Praise the Lord for examples of men and women who endure in obedience and faith regardless of their circumstances!
Suffering with Patience Opens a Door
After his death, we received a note from a younger pastor friend of his.