How Mature Followers of Jesus Handle Undeserved Hardships


November 13, 2019

Acts 26:30-32 (NIV)

The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. After they left the room, they began saying to one another, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.”

Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”


Let’s remind ourselves of the situation at hand. Paul, Apostle and church planter extraordinaire has been sitting in jail for over two years despite there being no substantive charges brought against him. His captors think he should be freed and yet in chains he remains.

Notice what is not happening. No one is asking the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Paul is not playing the victim card. He’s not whining about the injustice of it all. Paul isn’t questioning the goodness of God. He’s not saying things like, “All the good I’ve been doing for you Jesus and where are you when I need you?”

This is not how mature followers of Jesus filled with the Holy Spirit think. Here is how they think and reason.

  1. The world in which we live is a very fallen place.
  2. As a result, life can be very unfair at times.
  3. Injustice will often seem to win in the short run.
  4. The powers of darkness and evil are real and they vehemently oppose Jesus Christ.
  5. When something awful happens to someone ardently pursuing the will of God it should come as no surprise.
  6. The operative question is not, “Why me?” It is “Why not me?”
  7. In fact, this kind of opposition, should serve as a confirming sign that the one under attack is actually proving a threat to the enemy.

Jesus did not promise us a life free from calamities and injustices and all variety of problems. He promised he would be with us and never leave us and that in the end because he won, we win. In the meantime, the more powerless we find ourselves the more perfectly protected we actually are.

A mark of mature discipleship is to live in the continual Holy Spirit filled assurance of this reality, despite everything around us telling a different story. These are the people we marvel at. These are the people who cause us to believe in God. These are the people whose lives tell the true story and give us courage to press on through our own hardships.

And in our deepest selves, aren’t these the kind of people we most aspire to become? Answer that question.




Who comes to your mind as one of these kinds of people who have and are facing enormous difficulties and hardships and persevering all the more to follow Jesus without wavering?

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

P. S. – Remember The Protagonist series last year by Matt and Josh LeRoy? We’re pleased to have it in book form, ready for Advent reading groups! Get your copy from our store here. For this first batch or orders, we’re also including a free journal!

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