Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
- 1 Peter 3:13-17
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
- James 1:2-3
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
- Romans 5:3-5
The paragraphs in bold with a gold highlight are identical to the opening paragraphs of Tuesday Evening’s post about all of us being good inside (another of Satan’s deceptions). If you have already read the back story, you can skip this repeat of the introduction.
I am still writing about little things that I noticed on our trip to Tennessee and then Texas and then back to Tennessee, but first a bit of a back story.
Just before we left on the trip, I watched one of my favorite television shows. I have mentioned it many times, but I never gave the name. It is on Cornerstone TV Network and the show is Hard Questions. It is comprised of four panelists and a moderator, but all five are pastors. The moderator provides the questions, mostly questions that have been called in, e-mailed, mailed, or fed through the network’s prayer line.
If I were into television production, I would be amazed at how these pastors can give thorough answers to the Hard Questions and the show always seems to end perfectly on time, with no seeming answer cut off in the middle. But on this occasion, they finished with time left. The moderator then asked a question to fill in the remaining time, “In this present age, what are Satan’s greatest deceptions?”
The four panelists built upon each other’s answers, but the two biggest deceptions are that the church is preaching that there is no suffering for those who love the Lord. And one of the others was that we are, for the most part, really good inside. They each quoted Scriptures to state that these are lies told by the Master of Lies, Satan, and the church, maybe not your church, is repeating the lies. The moderator then added his own deception, that we should rely on our elected government officials, seemingly instead of God, as the day after election day is either a day to celebrate or mourn. That being a deception in that we should rely on God alone.
The strange thing is that this added bit to the end of the television time to avoid finishing early played out on our two-week long trip.
The first of these deceptions mentioned in the television show was that Christians do not suffer. I could have listed a lot more Scriptures than the ones above. The only verse that might be quoted for the other side of the coin is Isaiah 53:5 that ends with “by His stripes we are healed,” but as my wife said, “That pertains to a spiritual healing.”
But to the story: We had visited our son for two weeks. I wanted to get to bed early, about 8:30pm, to get a good night’s sleep. My wife had an extremely early dialysis session that day, and I was exhausted having spent the entire day packing for our return trip to PA after very little sleep the night before.
But the two youngest grandchildren, almost 8 and 10, decided to give extra good night hugs. Where one was usually enough, they spent an hour returning for more hugs, 5-10 extra hugs each. I lost count.
At 9:30pm at night, there was banging at the front door. I was reaching for the phone to call the police, but our daughter-in-law reached for the front door to let the assailants into the house. They were relatives of hers. My wife was ready for bed. She never let’s anyone see her without her hair in place, but forget that, the assailants shoved past everyone, and they placed their hands on my wife for a “faith healing.”
But while they said some well-practiced words about the Holy Spirit healing my wife, they then proclaimed that my wife and I needed to accept Jesus as our Savior. Because we were suffering, neither of us could be a true believer.
While they preached on, I left the room and went to bed. I wanted to call the police, but they were family. I wanted to take a frying pan and scramble their brains with it, but with my luck, Deviled Yeggs, or his counterpart, would have a great homicide case closure record, and then who would take my wife to dialysis? My son came in to apologize. I asked how it would be possible to rid ourselves of these people. And even weeks later, I am having a hard time considering them “people.”
My son said that they often came in late and did not leave until the middle of the night, maybe 2:00am or 3:00am, even when the children had school the next day. Even on Friday and Saturday nights, these late-night intrusions ruined the children’s sleep patterns.
Our daughter-in-law quoted Isaiah 53:5 as their reason for saying what they did. I asked if our daughter-in-law was just as insane as the intruders.
My wife was in tears. She claimed to not be offended, but I was her protector, and I was highly offended. They violated our sanctuary. They barged in when we were ready for bed. And then, this numbskull had condemned us to hell because my wife has a disease that is fatal – unless something else gets her first. He had faked a faith healing to show how wonderful and caring he was. He never in all his diatribe gave the glory to God. Yes. I was offended.
With my wife turning the sofa into her bed for the night and me already in bed along with the children, the assailants left about an hour later, partially being pushed by our son.
First, I was taught that you never visited anyone after dark unless invited at that hour. You never called anyone on the telephone after 8:00pm unless it was an emergency or a death in the family – maybe a birth announcement … maybe.
I would like to ask the blogosphere. How late is too late?!?!! How crude and rude can you be to drop in unannounced that late?!?! Or is civility dead?!?!?! With these questions, you may see why I have trouble considering these people to be “people!” Uncivilized knuckle draggers? Yes, but not people.
But all that being said, the concept of Christians not ever suffering and, if you do, you are going to hell …
Think about it!!! We all suffer, thus everyone goes to hell if these knuckle draggers are correct.
And if you buy into this deception, straight from Satan, as soon as you suffer… You might have a heart attack. You might have a car wreck. You might lose your house to a tornado. Or you might simply have a hangnail, but you will suffer.
As soon as that happens, you lose your faith. There is either no God, or God does not care about you suffering. This theology is not just dangerous, it is insane!
Suffering is guaranteed in the Scriptures, but Jesus says that His yoke is light. Why? Because we are yoked with Jesus, and Jesus is omnipotent. But we still have a burden. While here on earth, we still have pain, tears, and suffering.
Once we pass to the other side, all bets are off. But until then, we will suffer.
And I am sure that I will see these people again. My anger still rages to the boiling point. My wife has multiple health issues and they reduced her to tears, condemning her for being sick. To me doing that to someone is an entirely different form of sickness. One that needs Jesus, the true Jesus, to heal.
Lord, give me strength to forgive these heartless, cruel, inhumane people. I do not have the strength to do so on my own. Their theology is flawed and dangerous. May they not lead any of my loved one’s astray. In Thy name I pray, Amen.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.