but jews came from antioch and iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead.
[acts 14:19]
the cost of following Jesus
“if the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. if you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but i chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. remember the word that i said to you: ‘a servant is not greater than his master.’ if they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. if they kept my word, they will also keep yours. but all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.”
[john 15:18-21]
the scripture does not promise an easy life for those who follow him—in fact, they promise the opposite. but let this not be discouraging—may it be a testimony of how great a longing God can give us for him that we will see his worthiness in the midst of suffering! paul says of this experience (and others) later:
for his sake i have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that i may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that i may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible i may attain the resurrection from the dead.
[philippians 3:8b-11]
what a love for the Lord, a love that endures all things! how would we live and pray differently with that kind of desire for the Lord?
Lord, grow my desire for you, that my love would be so great that momentary affliction would seem nothing compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing you! i love you, Lord; increase my love for you!
~stephen hall