Trials, tribulations, tragedies, and persecution - why does it seem that following God brings more hardships than ignoring Him? How can we rely on Him when faced with suffering?

Day One: Trials and Tribulations
One of the most difficult parts of the Christian life is the fact that becoming a disciple of Christ does not make us immune to life's trials and tribulations. Why would a good and loving God allow us to go through such things as the death of a child, disease and injury to ourselves and our loved ones, financial hardships, worry and fear?...
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For more, see: "Testing our Faith: The Purpose of Trials"

Day Two: Meaning in Tragedy
When tragedy strikes, it is common for people to ask, "What does this mean?" When we witness some disaster or mass murder, there is a natural feeling that what has happened should not have happened. This innate sense of "wrongness" is a clue to meaning in these events...
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For more, see: "God in the Hard Times"

Day Three: Christian Persecution
There's no doubt that persecution is a stark reality of living the Christian life. The apostle Paul warned us that "everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Timothy 3:12). Jesus told us to expect persecution from the world because if they persecuted Him, they will persecute His followers also...
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For more, see: "An Even Perspective in Persecution"

Day Four: The Difficulties of being a Christian
Anyone who tells you that committing your life to Christ makes your life easier is not telling the truth. Fulfilling, yes. More joyful, absolutely. But easier? No. In some ways, life gets more difficult after we come to Christ. The struggle against sin is more pronounced, for one thing...
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For more, see: "Heavyweight Champion"

Day Five: Suffering for Christ
The Bible talks a lot about suffering for the sake of Christ. In the era in which the New Testament was written, followers of Jesus were often ostracized by their own families and communities. Some of the worst persecution came from the religious leaders...
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Day Six: The Protection of God
Because of man's sin and the subsequent curse that poisoned the perfection of God's creation, the world is often a dangerous place. People suffer every day from natural disasters, crime, car accidents, poor health, and more...
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For more, see: "Peace in the Midst of the Storm"

Day Seven: Joy in the Midst of Trials
James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." This is the very first thing James writes in his letter after his salutation. Why?...
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Day Eight: Giving our Worries to God
It is sometimes a disconcerting truth for many Christians that even though we belong to God through faith in Christ, we still seem to experience the same problems that plagued us before we were saved. We often become discouraged and bogged down in life's cares...
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For more, see: "Why should I trust God even when I don't understand who He is or what He is doing?"

Day Nine: Secret Christian
Is it wrong to live lives as secret Christians for fear of reprisal or even death? Should Christians be willing to die for confessing the name of Jesus? Should we keep our faith secret in order to preserve our lives? This is a question that is only hypothetical for Christians in many parts of the world...
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Image Credit: ptrosss; "Circus Maximus-Rome"; Creative Commons

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Published 11-27-15