The Great Contest of Suffering…
Faith in Christ is not always an easy path:
Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a great contest of suffering. At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and affliction; at other times you associated yourselves with those so treated. -Hebrews 10:32-33 NAB
Accepting Christ will often lead us to what the author of Hebrews calls the great contest of suffering. While the Christian life brings many joys, he reminds us that it will come with its share of suffering, as well.
Some will be personally attacked as Christians by being persecuted for their faith. Simply acknowledging the name of Christ and refusing to deny Him can lead to this in certain parts of the world.
For many of us, though, this is not as much of a reality in our modern cultures. It is difficult for us to imagine facing any sort of persecution for our faith. Most of our battles are fought in the political arena, and we may not feel attacked directly.
The author reminds us that we may be associated with the pain of others. In other words, we may not directly feel affliction, but our hearts are united in Christ with those around the world feeling the sting of persecution in their lives. We are empathetic to the sufferings of our brothers and sisters.
We must continue to pray for our fellow Christians around the world who are being persecuted for their faith. If one of us is being afflicted, we all are.