Jesus said in Matthew 5:10-12, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Sadly, persecution of God’s people entered this world after the Fall when Cain killed Abel. Through the centuries, many who have followed God have suffered and died at the hands of those who have rebelled against Him.
Those who have suffered “had trial of mockings and scourgings…of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned…sawn in two…tempted…slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—of whom the world was not worthy” (Hebrews 11:36-38).
Yet, they’ve found God’s promises to be true: “As your days, so shall your strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:25) and “My grace is sufficient for you: for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Referring to Daniel and his friends, who refused to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image, Ellen White wrote, “If you are called to go through the fiery furnace for His sake, Jesus will be by your side, even as He was with the faithful three in Babylon. Those who love their Redeemer will rejoice at every opportunity of sharing with Him humiliation and reproach. The love they bear their Lord makes suffering for His sake sweet” (Thoughts From the Mount of Blessings, page 30).
Indeed, when we suffer for God, He promises us His presence and say with the Apostle Paul, “I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings…” (Philippians 3:8, 10).
Indeed, God is powerful. He has promised not only to be with us but also to bring a blessing out of suffering for His sake. He assures us, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10).
To learn more about this topic, read Ellen White’s book Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing and download its digital copy at https://egwwritings.org/.