June 28, 2024

The Happiness of Suffering

Matthew 5:10-12

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

—  Matthew 5:10

Let’s focus again today on Jesus’ statements of blessing (beatitudes) in Matthew 5. These statements have been a source of encouragement for believers struggling with adversity, harassment, and oppression. These words may not seem so attractive today, however, when success and self-sufficiency are so highly valued. Our Scripture reading today, especially, might cause us to wonder what happiness there can be in facing persecution because of Jesus.

Suffering for our own mistakes tends to be a source of shame. But to suffer for the sake of righteousness (because we are followers of Jesus) is a cause for joy in the Lord. The Lord’s prophets and apostles who lived before us suffered many kinds of humiliations for the sake of righteousness and justice—just because they were trying to live God’s way. Jesus, likewise, was persecuted for doing good and teaching about the kingdom of God.

The apostle Paul says that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). So we can expect to face some kind of suffering as Jesus’ followers. But, as Paul also teaches, “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). The happiness we enjoy now is just a prelude to our eternal happiness!

Lord, despite the difficulties we may face, fill our hearts with peace and happiness in serving you, knowing we will live with you forever! Amen.

About the author — Hernandes Lopes

Hernandes became the Portuguese ministry leader for Today's sister Portuguese ministry in 2010. He also serves as the director of the organization Luz Para o Caminho (Light for the Way), an organization formed in partnership between ReFrame and the Presbyterian
Church of Brazil. Hernandes has authored more than 160 books and is a popular and respected conference speaker in Brazil. Hernandes graduated from Seminário Presbiteriano do Sul in Brazil and earned a Doctorate of Ministry from Reformed Theological Seminary in
Jackson, MS.

Hernandes and his wife, Tinha, have two adult children.

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